Trade union grills parties on key election issues

One of the country’s largest trade unions has put a series of 11 questions to all of the political groups contesting this year’s election, vowing to publish the answers as soon as possible after the election is called.

Impact carried out the same exercise in 2011 and more than 10,000 members and fellow trade unionists logged onto the union’s website to view the parties’ responses to the questions.

Many of the questions reference issues which affect the union’s 60,000 public service members, including the parties’ attitudes to the Lansdowne Road Agreement on public service pay, the retention or disposal of state assets, and the privatisation of public services.

Others go beyond the sphere of the State’s employees and examine the broader issues of unemployment, job creation schemes, homelessness, and wage levels.

They include:

  • What is your party’s views on the balance between tax deductions and public expenditure adjustments over the next five years?
  • What measures will your party take to continue job creation and reduce unemployment?
  • What are your party’s policies in relation to labour activation schemes such as JobBridge, Gateway, and Community Employment?
  • What are your party’s policies in relation to ensuring decent work and terms of employment?
  • Do you support the introduction of a Living Wage?
  • What are your party’s policies regarding housing, homelessness, and rent certainty?
  • What will your party do to establish an efficient single-tiered health system, which is free at the point of access?

Impact’s communications officer Niall Shanahan said the union had received acknowledgements so far from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour, and Sinn Féin indicating that they intend to respond to the questions.

Social Party TD Ruth Coppinger had also said she would give answers.

[timgcap=Social Party TD Ruth Coppinger had also said she would give answers.]ruthCoppingerMay14_large.jpg[/timg]

“We have had no response yet from the Social Democrats, while Shane Ross of the Independent Alliance responded, indicating his reluctance to respond to the questions on the basis that the Independent Alliance is not a political party,” Mr Shanahan said.

“Finian McGrath, also from the IA, [Independent Alliance] has been in touch to say that he will respond on his own behalf. He said Renua Ireland sent a copy of the party’s manifesto, ‘the contents of which address three of the 11 questions’.

“We will also publish details of their policies on abolishing incremental payscales in the public sector and their policy to move public servants from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions,” Mr Shanahan said.

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