Tuesday January 15th, 2013 15:55
Trade Unions and the loss of Integrity Ethics & Transparency
by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) Social Justice
Dublin 1913 to Dublin 2013
What have we learned? What changes can be made?
Dublin 1913: It was before World War I, Ireland had negotiated a form of Home Rule/self government but there was inequality with extremes in wealth and poverty, nationalism and British Rule created the environment for dissent and rebellion. James Larkin “Big Jim” represented the low skilled workers and William Martin Murphy, a Catholic businessman represented the newly forming middle class. William Martin Murphy owned the Irish Independent newspaper, and the Dublin United Tramway Company and was making inroads against the power of the former elites.
The power of the Unions and Croke Park I and 2 is an urgent matter for discussion by the plain people of Ireland. There is a discrepancy in the integrity, transparency and ethics we expect from our trade unions.
Health is a good place to start.
Can someone please explain how the Ireland can pay their consultants 12 times higher than their equivalents in Hungary and double that of their counterparts in Germany or the UK?
How many more people in other trade unions share the characteristics and self interest that are now evidenced in the IMO deal with their former ‘trade union official’ (as he described himself in 1997). Mr. George McNeice was the public face of the union through his tenure at the IMO. This man worked for the Department of Health as a civil servant for a brief time before joining the IMO based in Fitzwilliam Place Dublin 2. Each year we know he was lauded by the doctors and consultants attending the IMO’s annual conference usually held in the Europa hotel in Killarney.
This supposedly unassuming low profile man, trade union official, was one smooth operator when it came down to negotiating his financial package as Chief Executive of the IMO. The facts as revealed in the Irish Mail on Sunday state that the former IMO President, Dr Cormac Macnamara RIP headed up the committee which approved George McNeices’s over generous contract in 1993. George McNeice, CE, IMO, aged 51, recently claimed that he was entitled to a ‘package’ of £24 million. This package is said to have provided him with an annual bonus of up to 30% of his salary. This bonus was compounded each year. The cruel irony here is the claim of not knowing the details by the Remuneration Committee. Could this be so? In 2013 could it be possible that someone in the IMO could sanction such a spectacular financial package and yet nobody knew about it? No must be the answer because there are too many vested interests in the medical profession and their bureaucracy and hence the pyramid scheme scenario that sees Ireland’s medical profession grossly overpaid for inadequate service.
Mr McNeice, his package, has been negotiated down to £9.7 million. But even this deal is shameful. This is a different financial scandal to those of the developers and bankers but it is linked to abuse of power, a form of narcissism and self interest and is equal to the financial scandals that must be dealt with. The HSE is a monolith of bureaucracy, an entity created by a few, which was no doubt better run under the auspices of the Department of Health.
Surely, others are aware and in turn are in receipt of substantial packages. Do we know? Do we care? Apparently doctors have resigned from the IMO and are seeking an inquiry into the governance of the IMO. This is a warning surely to the Unions to examine their practices.
Moving away from medical unions. What about the people who work for years for say Clerys. What do the unions really do to protect these people? They tend to change their contracts at will from permanent to part-time and then say no jobs exist and bye bye.
Wed Jan 16, 2013 13:17
Saturday, May 11, 2013 15:51
Trade Unions and Loss of Integrity: Waste needs attention v STRIKES
‘Most Irish people wish the Germans would stop funding
overpaid Irish Public Sector parisites’.
by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)
‘Most Irish people wish the Germans would stop funding overpaid Irish Public Sector parasites’ by Unemployed raises many questions. What initially comes to mind is Bus Eireann and the strike tomorrow Sunday and the fact that the powers that be have facilitated the main executive of the company to move between Ireland and Dubai? How? Why? when we know that this matter was supposed to be dealt with one year ago? Why have the trade unions not tackled management about this absolute farce? How could a company be expected to cover the huge deficits, let alone be on a potential path to profitability? Unemployed, you are right about the public sector but the trade unions are their allies and are busy playing the game of running with hounds and hunting with the ehares – the elites (Hare sculpture AIB Head Office, Dublin 4). We cannot expect the Troika to facilitate us further until they become satisfied that our public sector is streamlined and effective in accordance with Germany, the lead player. Over £1 billion excess a month is the debt to Ireland Inc and rising fast ie in real terms when interest is basically compounding on existing debt. The balance sheet on the income side is drawing from all initiatives especially the 2013 Gathering and yet the short-termism prevails and the trade unions are to the fore with their sabotage tactics of ‘hit the tourists’ and that will make the Government respond! So simple yet so complex. The fact is the waste factor in public sector must be identified and expunged because if this does not happen, income, earnings, investments contributed by potential ‘Robin Hoods’ will only be paid into a big black hole with little or no value to Ireland. Tax evasion or the milder form of tax avoidance will be up for mention at the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh. Well done Minister for Social Protection (a Chartered Accountant, by profession) for being the first Cabinet Minister in Ireland to have the courage, the ethics, the morality and integrity to highlight U2’s decision to move its ‘publishing arm to the Netherlands – as part of an attack on the “scandal” of tax avoidance’. This took place in 2006 and yet the plain people of Ireland fail to ask if there is not an element of hypocrisy that U2 and so many others could reduce their level of loyalty to Ireland for a few ‘lousy bucks’. What arguments can they put forward? These ‘Artists’ are not the like of Starbucks or Google who are attracted to Ireland specifically related to tax breaks but who create jobs, because mainly we speak English, we are members of the EU and are population are educated (at least to date anyway). U2 like so many other artists were cushioned to their Fame Status by the infrastructure of Ireland Inc and the tax breaks introduced by Charles J Haughey RIP – former Fianna Fail Taoiseach and minister to several portfolios. The later decision to cap the exemption at £250,000 saw the decision by U2 to move to the Netherlands and since this deep economic crisis in Ireland, they have not sought to return to our Exchequer! Shame on all who flew the coup. Redeem yourselves and pay tax in Ireland. Ireland is in dire need of some ‘Robin Hood’ characters who will willingly contribute but we cannot expect this to happen unless our ‘cloth is cut to measure’ and our home grown artists, entrepreneurs, Forbes Wealth list people have the integrity to contribute to the Irish exchequer and not some foreign tax haven which ensures that they have effective tax rates ranging from nil to 4%. This is where our overly indulged trade unions need to interact. These tax exiles, like the Troika, want to see value for money in the public sector and particularly the HSE and this is about making the parasites pro-active in the recovery of Ireland Inc. It is time for transparency and a moral compass. Well said Minister Burton. It is time that the agenda of the G8 summit to be held in Co. Fermanagh next month will be focusing on ‘considering the issue of “exceptionally aggressive” tax avoidance and tax planning’. Michelle Clarke (Comyn)
Trade Unions and lack of Integrity
Trade Unions: Their Slush funds; their privileges; forget the unemployed
by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)
The Troika are reported to have honed in on the Department of Social Protection and lack of performance. We approach a figure of 500,000 people out of work, not to mention the part-timers whose hours are slashed, pay reduced, and rights obliterated. FAS, once a successful model named ANCO, became so smug in their own narcissism that they lost the ability, the morals, the principles and integrity to create opportunities for people in the workplace. The community employment initiative worked well at the beginning but as we know when elitist privileged cultures emerge, over time it affects all and always to the detriment of those most vulnerable. We await, 5 years on from the crisis and from the hands-on investigative initiative of Senator Shane Ross into the totally unacceptable behaviour of the ruling elites in FAS, the new lean machine called Solus. We are waiting and meantime the list of unemployed is rising. The unemployment problem doesn’t just rest with the inadequacies of Social Protection under the auspices of Minister Joan Burton. What are the trade unions doing for those who were once employed by them, those who monthly paid their union dues and who are the contributors of the 30 million euros plus that SIPTU have rolling over in the bank.? Do their rights die the day they were forced by the economic crisis into unemployment? The construction sector is decimated, many have emigrated, as they have generation after generation in times unemployment. What about those in the retail sector who have been ‘fired’ in order to create positions based on the part-time model and no employer obligations model? The unions and their elites are shy to refer to these people as they negotiate with Government to feather their own existing working members and in particular those in the public sector. Trade Unions: the construction sector was your bread and butter for decades. Before the Celtic Tiger, the unions benefited because Ireland had to cater for social housing provision, which now is replaced by people on the social housing list with basically no or little access to homes. What have you done to recompense these people who are your creditors? Where are the job programmes to upskill, re-skill. Their contributions are the same kind of investments as the union dues paid by present day members. It is your duty to represent these people now. Experience shows me that you dismiss these people the day they lose their jobs. Shame on you. This year of 2013, the anniversary of the Trade Union movement, it would be beneficial for you to consider what the ITGWU did for their workers in 1913 and going forward. Slush Funds: Wow. What are these? Could they be ‘savings for a rainy day’. Slush funds used to conjure up images of greedy private sector executives making provision, for privileges they deemed necessary for their own luxuries, but would allude the keen eye of the young auditors whose job was to audit the books of these private companies. We know now based on the tribunals, the media, programmes like TV3 Vincent Browne and many other sources that the auditors too became immersed in the fraudulent culture that consumed Celtic Tiger Ireland and they failed dismally to put the breaks on massive amounts of now alleged and actual corruption. The issue now, is what have we learned? It appears not a lot because Slush funds are in the news again, only this time, it is SIPTU and the HSE.
Do we have a Fraud office in Ireland? We definitely have the CAB. (Criminal Assets Bureau). Are they so over worked that their services are not required and cases that could be routed to the DPP for assessment are waived? The IMO and George McNeice surely merits more attention. Based on the foregoing postings, the pension pot for this man, aged 50, is beyond reason for a man who is basically a trade union official. The inequalities created by such an enormous pay-out has to reflect on the inequalities that create two tier payment for consultants resulting in the many young people educated for medicine in Ireland, (costing at least £90,000 a year) emigrating while the waiting lists for certain posts remain vacant, particularly for that cinderella profession of psychiatry. Morality and ethics would suggest the IMO funding would be better used towards ensuring our students worked in our hospitals and are given a fair opportunity to progress. Since when is the sole function of the trade union to focus of ‘pay’ without the creation of a core value part of the equation.
Today’s Independent headline states ‘SIPTU says it could not sack ‘Slush Fund’ official’. Siptu pledges to have known nothing about the ‘slush fund’. Is this credulous? They say that the former national industrial secretary, Matt Merrigan, set up a bank account and collected 4 million euros from the taxpayer over a 7 year period. ‘Study trips’ – the USA, Canada and even Australia for Mr Merrigan, trade union representatives and public sector members was the priority. What is most surprising is the fact that instead of notifying the Fraud Squad, the inquiry is internal and the only advice sought is from a Senior Counsel and his advice was that they could not dismiss Mr Merrigan. The reprimand was that he was demoted and his salary and pension reduced accordingly.
Wining and dining, studying abroad, wives on junkets. A trifle of £4 m squirreled away in a “Slush Fund” and nobody cares. Trade unions are about their members. The Slush Fund here tells another story. Minister Shatter for Justice – are we naive? Is there one law for the person who steals a bottle of wine from TESCO and is caught on the cameras and another for these elites because evidence is massaged?
Sun Jun 30, 2013 15:57
Trade Unions and lack of Integrity
Benchmarking & cosy cartels. Who cares about rampant abuse of power?
by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)
The media and hush hush – we have the tapes that can be played and replayed, printed and re-printed and these are the capitalists who brought Ireland to its knees and providing we don’t prejudice these peoples right to a fair trial, there is no need to examine root and branch of other entities in particular our trade unions, our semi-state sector in search of the same ‘rot’ borne out of lack of integrity, morality and ethics.
So certain people are called before the Public Accounts Committee, when the matter most likely should have been dealt with years ago by An Gardai Siochana and the Fraud Squad. In Ireland it is simple, be a vulnerable person and steal some food from the like of Tesco and the process is clear. The security guard tackles you, the surveillance camera is the evidence, the Gardai are called and you are express delivery file for the DPP, onward moving towards the courts and inevitably prison.
The media is shy in reporting on the likes of IMO (trade union) and McNeice. Does it not augur as suspicious that the man had a £24 million deal secured that enabled him to retire with a pension multiples of the salaries paid to average workers from age 52. Why do people not ask why it was so easy for him to reduce the amount to £9.7 as HIS concession? Does anyone ask where the money came from given the IMO is a trade union? It must ultimately be from the contributions of the members and perhaps McNeice, the benevolent, was willing to accept the reduction to £9.7 because there was no more money in the IMO account. Questions must be asked and the media must report on the findings. The fact that Minister O’Reilly was involved in the IMO and that there are questions to be answered is not justification for the media not to interact and inform the people.
‘Just Farcical’…..is the heading in the Irish Mirror. Why? because quite evidently people have abused power and are in a position to conceal data and information that belongs not to them but to the general public. It is no small amount of money. Apparently Merrigan created ‘a HSE-funded pot concerned with the training and upskilling of low-paid workers, to pay for trips to New York, Hong Kong and Australia’. Mimicry of the elites is the accusation here and let’s see how the Public Accounts committee will question Merrigan and the answers he will give.
We are back to the trade unions again only this time the person named is Matt Merrigan. Again, it is the spending of vast sums of money on travel abroad, junkets, entertainment, all in the name of training for the undisclosed. This time, a fearful Mr Merrigan when fielded with accusations, including an initial inquiry by the Fraud Squad, sought a report from Grant Thornton, Accountants so that he could ‘clear his name’. What is astounding about this, is that Mr Merrigan refuses to release the report. The Union SIPTU paid £76,000 for this report that they are not privy to!
Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has said that the “whole thing was farcical”….”I cannot for the life of me understand how Siptu paid for the report. Siptu own that report, not Grant Thornton.” Meanwhile we are forced to accept the mutterings of the general secretary of the trade union that they are basically entitled not to release the report (somewhat like the Anglo tapes now only being released when we all know they should have been in the custody of the Central Bank, ECB and others, the day we knew Anglo Irish was caught out). Individualists have gained too much power and the time is now to break down the walls of abuse of power and restore integrity. The words nothing can be done because we are seeking legal advice are not enough. We have the Fraud Squad, the DPP, the Criminal Assets Bureau, let them have the opportunity for them to do their job and lets get these people who have abused power and their position before the courts to carry the strong words that Ireland no longer tolerates corrupt practices at any level.
40 junkets and no details, a number of which related to St Patrick’s day trips. No officials to sign off. How crazy this is when you look to those in the private sector particularly those in retail and construction whose union dues fund these junkets. These are the people who are now years out of work with no support from the unions they contributed to. Trade Unions have millions invested – it is time to create modules to get people who funded you back to work. You could co-operate with the Department of Social Protection and the defunct FAS and act now before we become deskilled and of no value. The MNCs have derived much from Ireland, it is time to encourage them to give some corporate social responsibility to us in the form of creating work potential and training for the unemployed. We are now 5 years into recession and we need action on all fronts.
Friday Jul 12th, 2013 16:33
Wed Jul 24, 2013 16:41
TRADE UNIONS AND LACK OF INTEGRITY –
Corporate Social Responsibility
by Michelle Clarke (Blake)
‘Summer time and the living is easy
fish are jumping and the cotton is high…………….’
But in Ireland too many are now unemployed; too many are under employed; too many young people will become driftwood as a small open economy on the Atlantic off the UK and Europe becomes the Detroit, USA (now bankrupt); the main difference being that the population of Detroit diminished from 1951 at 1.5 million to its present population of 700,000+. What can Ireland learn and learn now?
Interesting post about Eddie Hobbs and his recommendation to our millionaires to take the risk and go to Detroit. Sad really because we need those very same people to innovate and invest in the Island of Ireland where people from foreign countries have chosen to emigrate to and where the population is increasing. Thankfully, the MNC’s still are keen to locate in Ireland based on factors like we speak the English language, we are in the Eurozone, the EU, we have a high standard of education, we have a young population and so much more. We need to take hope from the fact that Google plan to invest further with a conference centre (which will compete with the one we already have) but theirs will host 15,000 people. This is a commitment on their part. The Celtic Tiger moved us up several notches and then dropped us down but maybe now we are near a platform and we need to learn and start climbing again upwards. We can start by asking the MNC’s to use their financial power to negotiate with the Troika to write down a significant proportion of the debt that can never be repaid and soon.
Who has heard of Robin Hood most easily accessed by me on Twitter? We all have. Robin Hood is needed in Ireland so try google and catch up with the plans of the modern day Robin Hood drive in the US and the UK. The EU are mooting for Financial Transaction Tax but the UK lose out so there must be a give and take. Ireland needs to be a beneficiary of this Robin Hood initiative, if only he could influence the powers that be to write down the debt.
Today the OECD has said Ireland is not a tax haven. However we do provide sweet deals for the MNC’s and it is time for us to ask for a greater return from these engines of economic growth potential to provide opportunities through a Robin Hood type programme to create employment for those who are now unemployed in our country. Trade Unionists have failed utterly to be innovative to create work initiatives; their concern is feathering their own nests and sitting on the sidelines. Shame on the reckless management of the IMO, Siptu and others – similar to the banks and developers there is a culture of gross misconduct that if properly investigated by the Gardai would suggest corrupt practices.
The Trade Unions have faltered, they have lost sight of the people who kept them in their present standing, they are too lazy to invest their money in projects alongside the multi-nationals to get the people away from the dole queues and create jobs. It is possible. Ireland is a small country and education is the only way forward.
Google undertake to help the over 55’s with 1 hr hand’s on training in Barrow Street. We need more of these initiatives. The time has come again in another century this time for proper corporate social responsibility. Guinness did it with the Beano and the Iveagh Hostels so today’s MNC’s can create opportunities for the unemployed.
450,000+ unemployed this summer. We are not Detroit, we don’t want to be the Detroit of Europe. We have the education, we have the MNC’s but we must tackle the public sector and we must address the bureaucracy and create a fairer society and to side step the rot of corruption that will fuel the black economy to our detriment. There must be hope. We are not in the awful Civil War that destroys Syria.
Friday Aug 09, 2013 14:55
Trade Unions and lack of Integrity
Reply to citizen journalism/open publishing posting: “Bullied by union member to accept……..”
Fri day August 23, 2013 16:42
TRADE UNIONS AND LACK OF INTEGRITY
by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)
by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)
The workers in Clery’s Department store were persuaded to accept the equivalent to zero hours contracts and then one day they were out of work and forgotten by SIPTU. There were those who stayed and those who left but then comes a big storm and the water flows into Clerys and the doors are closed for weeks now. It was easy for the private equity group to put in place the re-run of redundancy zero-hour contracts and let’s see what SIPTU do for these now employees pending the re-opening of Clerys., that is of course, if it does ever re-open. Another wrap of the knuckles for SIPTU. What about that security company in Donegal that provided work in security for Tesco Ireland. Tesco decided to go global and now choose a French company. Result all the workers in the Donegal business lost their jobs and there seems to be no negotiation option. Tesco Corporate rules in Ireland or maybe it’s their UK office; it has favourable tax rules in Ireland, and doesn’t have to declare profits. However, this doesn’t mean that they can be so brutal in their exercise of power. This business faces extinction at the whim of Tesco. They will not even negotiate with the workers or their trade unions according to newspapers.