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(en) Strike Action Against Water Reform in Northern Ireland

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(Brian Durney deconstruct-A-eircom.net)
Date Sun, 13 Feb 2005 20:07:23 +0100 (CET)

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Water Service workers in Northern Ireland staged a one-day strike on
Wednesday 9th of February over proposals to reform the service. More
industrial action is on the cards and a work to rule is already in place
as workers have withdrawn 'goodwill'.
Members of the four unions voted for industrial action against the
reform package which will result in around 700 job losses, the Water
Service becoming a Government Owned Company and the imposition of what
John Corey, general secretary of NIPSA, damned as: "the highest direct
water charges in the whole of the UK".

Corey proclaimed during Wednesdays strike action that a battle "must be
fought" against water reform and indeed it must. Water Service workers
are central to that battle. Industrial action against water reform must
be linked to the building of a wider campaign based on mass non-payment
of the water tax.

If this is to be effective the pressure must be built and maintained by
the water service workers themselves, this action takes place following
a statement from the union leadership that negotiations have broken down
- what is there to negotiate. Voluntary as opposed to compulsory
redundancies? Better pay offs? Reassurances in relation to transfer of
undertakings when workers stop working for the Water Service and start
working for a GoCo? This is about much more than GoCo related issues
including pension changes and alterations to working conditions. This
reform package, these charges cannot be negotiated on, the have to be
opposed, fought and defeated.

It may have been some months ago but we remember John Corey’s words at a
Coalition Against the Water Tax seminar in Belfast City Hall that "this
is not over until the first bill lands through the first letterbox".

Water Service workers and non-payment activists should bear those words
in mind and be wary of allies who are unwilling to see this fight
through. The battle will not end but rather enter a more intense phase
when the first bills arrive - we must be in a position to win with or in
spite of Trade Union bureaucrats like Corey.

This article and more can be read in the Latest Issue of Working Class
Resistance, the bi-monthly regular newsheet from Organise!

Read or download the latest issue online at our website

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