FF councillor claims politicisation by unions

A FIANNA FÁIL politician accused “well-paid” union bosses last night of politicising the public service in their campaign for the reversal of pay cuts.

Cllr Terry Shannon, the leader of the party’s group on Cork City Council, was speaking during a blistering attack on union leaders who have instructed their members not to deal with certain politicians.

SIPTU and Impact have instructed their members not to deal with TDs, senators and councillors who the support pay cuts.

SIPTU’s local authority professional officers (LAPO) branch, which includes planners and engineers, has issued a letter to elected representatives outlining the latest escalation of their industrial action.

“Part of this action is a ban on dealing with any representations from TDs, senators and local authority councillors who personally, and/or as a matter of party policy, have supported (to a lesser or greater degree) government policy on this matter,” the letter states.

“Therefore, for the duration of this dispute, members of SIPTU/LAPO will no longer be accepting representations from or assisting those politicians who have not supported the interests of public sector workers.”

Mr Terry Shannon, a member of SIPTU and former branch secretary, said Ireland’s public service has always been apolitical. “But we have well-paid and well-heeled union bosses, who are completely out of touch with their own members, trying to politicise the public service. The unions need to cop themselves on.”

He described the move as “undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional” and said as a result, certain city officials have been forced to refuse to deal with him on official city business.

He said he appreciates that public servants have taken pay cuts, and are working under the cloud of the recruitment embargo. But he said several have told him this instruction from their union leaders has placed them in a very embarrassing situation.

The body which represents local councillors, the Local Authority Members Association (LAMA), is “closely monitoring” the effect of the unions’ instruction.

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