Vote No!

A trade union's advice

The head-office of Mandate

EU in Crisis

The following presentation was made at the 'EU in Crisis' conference held in Dublin on 7-8 October 2011:

Alex Gordon of the English trade union RMT speaking to the question 'Was "Social Europe" a con?'

The EU strikes at workers' rights

As part of the General Agreement on Trade in Services which is being negotiated under the auspices of the WTO, the EU is proposing to open the European market to service suppliers from other parts of the world - a proposal that has serious implications for the employment conditions of workers in Ireland and other EU member states. A People's Movement leaflet on the issue is available here.


European Day of Action
No to austerity!
Assemble at Anglo-Irish Bank, St Stephen's Green
and proceed to Dáil Éireann
Wednesday, 29 September 2010, 12:45 p.m.

High Court confirms Laval judgment

A judgement delivered by the High Court on 30 June 2010 has confirmed that the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the Laval case means contractors from low wage EU member states may provide services in Ireland while according their workers the minimum labour conditions pertaining in their home country - except for those sectors in which a Registered Employment Agreement (REA) exists. A report on the judgment is available here.

Greek trade unionists oppose the Lisbon Treaty

A group of Greek trade unionists has written a letter to the editor of the Irish Times calling for a 'No' vote in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The letter can be read here.

British TUC condemns Lisbon Treaty

The British Trade Union Congress has adopted a motion which states:

'Congress reaffirms its opposition to ECJ rulings such as the Viking case, which also allow for attacks on collective agreements, and it reiterates that the Lisbon Treaty would exacerbate attacks on trade unions by handing greater powers to the ECJ to interpret disputes concerning the Charter of Fundamental Rights.'

The motion can be read in full here.

Ryanair backs the Lisbon Treaty

Michael O'Leary, a well-known friend of workers' rights and the public sector, is campaigning for a 'Yes' vote. His comments on the treaty (and on those who oppose it) can be viewed here.

TEEU opposes Lisbon

Speaking in Dublin at the Desmond Greaves School, the general secretary designate of the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union said that his union is opposed to the Lisbon Treaty because it does not contain a social progress protocol. Read the statement in full here. [11 September 2009]

Liverpool, England

RMT union
TUC Fringe Meeting
'Respect the Irish "No" vote; reject the Lisbon treaty'
The Liverpool Bar, 14 James Street, Liverpool
Monday, 14 September 2009, 12:30 p.m.
Speakers: Bob Crow (RMT), Jimmy Kelly (Unite), Frank Keoghan (People's Movement), Joe Higgins MEP (Socialist Party).

SIPTU decision regretted

The People's Movement has regretted the decision of SIPTU to support the Lisbon Treaty, but also notes the many reservations contained in the union's statement of 'support'. See the full press statement here.

Social Europe 'long gone'

Responding to a statement by Blair Horan on behalf of the pro-Lisbon 'Charter' group, People's Movement secretary Frank Keoghan pointed out that the days of a Social Europe are 'long gone' and that the European Court of Justice now rules in the interests of the market rather than those of workers. See the full statement here.

ECJ rulings in brief

Are you confused by recent rulings of the European Court of Justice in the area of labour rights? If so, a new 1-page summary of the rulings prepared by the People's Movement may be of use: it can be downloaded in PDF format here.

Draft directive threatens social dumping

The proposals in a draft EU directive on seasonal work may carry the threat of social dumping. A People's Movement leaflet on the issue is available here.

The Luxembourg Judgement

The People's Movement has published a pamphlet on the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the Luxembourg case - a ruling which shows yet again that in the EU the rights of business override the rights of labour. The pamphlet can be downloaded in PDF format here.

ETUC calls for a social protocol

At a conference held on May 27-28, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) called on the European Council to adopt an unambiguous and binding commitment to fundamental social rights as part of the guarantees to be given to Ireland ahead of the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

A letter has been sent to all EU heads of state and government, and to the presidents of the European Commission and European Parliament.

For further details, see the report on the ETUC website here.

Labour Court comments on Laval

Commenting on the Laval Judgment in a recent case taken by employers to break a Registered Employment Agreement* (REA) in the electrical contracting industry, the Labour Court in Dublin stated that:

'... it seems reasonably if not absolutely clear to the Court that in the absence of an Registered Employment Agreement contractors from other Member States could exercise their freedom to provide services in this jurisdiction under the EC Treaty at the same rates and conditions of employment as apply in their country of origin. Depending on the country of origin this could seriously undermine the competitive position of Irish contractors.'

In reality, the wages of their employees are more likely to be affected! The employers are likely to pursue this case through the civil courts, with devastating results for workers if they are successful.

[*REAs are 'universally applicable' agreements on pay and conditions in particular industries. There are 22 REAs in operation Ireland all of which are registered with the Labour Court and are legally binding.]

Report on the Luxembourg case

A new report published by the People's Movement analyses the implications of the recent Luxembourg case in which the European Court of Justice has further limited the scope for member states to apply national labour law and industrial relations to foreign service providers.

The report can be downloaded in PDF format here.
[4 February 2009]

Rail workers oppose EU plans

Thousands of rail workers from around Europe demonstrated in Paris on 13 November against EU plans to liberalise rail networks. More than 20,000 workers took part and carried banners in English, French and German reading 'Stop liberalisation' and opposing the Lisbon Treaty.

New pamphlet from the People's Movement

The People's Movement has issued a new pamphlet entitled The Lisbon Treaty: Issues for Workers. The issues covered in the pamphlet include the EU's 'own resources', privatisation of public services, and the proposed harmonisation of the systems civil and criminal law among EU member states. A copy of the pamphlet in PDF format is available here.

New leaflet on workers' rights

The People's Movement has begun to distribute a new leaflet about recent judgements by the European Court of Justice. The leaflet is available in PDF format by clicking on the image below.

Peoples' Movement condemns court judgement

The People's Movement has condemned a judgement by the European Court of Justice in a case that was taken against the government of Luxembourg as another step in prioritising the needs of the market over the rights of workers.

  • For the People's Movement press statement, see here.
  • For a discussion of the implications of the latest judgement, see here.
  • For an analysis of the judgement in the Luxembourg case, see here.

Appeal against the Lisbon Treaty

An appeal to the Irish people for a vote against the Lisbon Treaty has been signed by 707 labour activists from twenty-four countries throughout Europe. Read it here.

People's Movement welcomes SIPTU's decision

The People's Movement has welcomed SIPTU's refusal to be conned by the 'shiny trinket' that is the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Read the press statement here.

TEEU opposes the Lisbon Treaty

The largest craft union, the TEEU, has urged its 45,000 members to vote 'No' in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. In view of recent judgements by the European Court of Justice, TEEU general secretary designate Eamon Devoy believes that 'the pendulum has swung against workers' rights and in favour of big business'. For further details, see the report here.

Legal opinions on trade union rights

Two legal opinions on the implications for trade union rights of a reject judgement by the European Court of Justice in the Laval case are available here. See laval1.pdf and laval2.pdf.

How fundamental is workers' right to strike?

A recent judgement by the European Court of Justice has given rise to growing concerns among trade unionists about the right of workers to strike. Read more here. [February 2008]

Charter of Fundamental Rights

Download the revised (February 2008) version of the People's Movement critique of the proposed EU 'Charter of Fundamental Rights':

The full text of the charter is available here.

EU court attacks trade union rights

The People's Movement has issued the attached commentary on the important judgement of the European Court of Justice in the Vaxholm case which was delivered in December 2007.

Labour links

The following websites will be be of interest to trade unionists who are concerned about the EU's on-going drive for increased economic liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation:

Further threats to trade union rights

As the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the Vaxholm case is awaited, further threats to trade union rights have emerged in the form of a recent, and little noticed, ruling by the European Court of Human Rights and a green paper by the European Commission entitled 'Modernising labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century'.

For further information, download .pdf documents on the court ruling and the green paper[February 2007].

EU threatens right to strike

Early next month the European Court of Justice will effectively decide if workers within the European Union have a fundamental right to strike: the court will hear two separate test cases on January 9 and 10 brought by Finnish shipping company Viking Line and Latvian building firm Laval against trade unionists who dared to take strike action. Read the details in .pdf format here [December 2006].

An up-dated report on the European Court hearing can now be read here [January 2007].

Say 'No' to the Services Directive

The Services Directive is a victory for big business - begin the campaign to prevent Dáil implementation now! Read more in .pdf format here[December 2006]

Trade Liberalization and the EU

'Seventeen ways in which the European Commission is pushing trade liberalization on poor countries' - a major new analysis by Mark Curtis. Read the report in .pdf format here [December 2006].

Services Directive

In a new report, Brian Denny examines competing interpretations of the 'reformed' Services Directive. Read the report in .pdf format here [December 2006].

Download report on the British TUC's debate on the draft EU constitution:
British TUC opposes the EU constitution.

For sovereignty, democracy and social justice.