Trade union leaders’ salaries

24 October 2009

Over the years the Communist Party of Ireland has pointed out the dangers inherent in the salaries of leading trade union officers getting so far ahead of the members that they could become a stick with which to beat the whole movement. The mass media have now taken the opportunity to use the salary of some leading trade union officers to attack the trade union movement, in the hope of dividing and demoralising the membership of the unions. 
     For the first time in decades, trade unions have adopted a position of independence from both the government and the employers and are providing the leadership that is required at this crucial time, when workers face a massive assault on their wages and conditions by their employers and the state. 
     This media campaign is aimed at reinforcing stereotypes of out-of-touch trade union “bosses.” In exploiting what in some instances is clearly an indefensible position it aims not only to create division within the ranks of organised workers as they begin to develop the necessary fight back but also to discredit trade unions per se in the eyes of the tens of thousands of workers who are either not permitted to join a union or at this moment do not recognise the importance of joining a union. 
     The Communist Party of Ireland calls on workers and loyal trade union members not to fall for this divide-and-rule trick of the employers and their corporate media. Union members who are unhappy with their own unions’ policies or structures need to become more involved in the unions’ internal democratic structures so as to campaign for the changes they want to see. 
     The priority must be to continue to mobilise to make the 6th of November a resounding success and a platform for further mobilisation, while at the same time there is a job of house-tidying to be done within the labour movement to make it more responsive to its members and to bring salaries back in line with those pertaining to the members.