Anti Lisbon treaty meeting in Ireland

This video from Ireland is called Joe Higgins pledges to use MEP seat to fight Lisbon II.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Ireland to say No to EU treaty

Friday 21 August 2009

Brian Denny

A packed Liberty Hall in Dublin this week saw the launch of the Vote No to Lisbon coalition, campaigning for a No vote in the second Irish treaty referendum due on October 2.

Against the backdrop of the worst economic crisis for a generation and a long-running dock strike in Dublin, speaker after speaker said that the Lisbon Treaty would only make things worse.

A launch statement said that the Lisbon Treaty – the same in substance as the previous EU constitution – would do nothing to help Ireland out of the economic crisis.

“Instead it would take us in the direction of more privatisation, more right-wing economic policy, more militarisation, less neutrality and less democratic control,” it said.

Unite union Irish regional secretary Jimmy Kelly warned that should the renamed EU constitution come into force, workers would rely on the EU’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) in any dispute between them and their government.

“This EU court has already made it clear in a number of cases that the fundamental rights it recognises are not absolute but could be varied or restricted in the interests of ‘common organisation of the market’ or to advance ‘objectives of general interest pursued by the [European] Community’,” he warned.

EU rules on “free movement” of capital, goods, services and labour has already led to widespread social dumping in Ireland, where exploited foreign labour is being used as a battering ram to drive down wages and increase profits.

Tens of thousands marched in Dublin a few years ago after Irish seafarers were sacked by Irish Ferries and replaced with sweated east European labour, a union-busting policy which is actively encouraged by EU internal market rules and ECJ rulings.

Dublin dock workers at Marine Terminals Ltd are entering their seventh week on strike after a ruthless management forced redundancies, imposed “take it or leave it” contracts, slashing pay and worsening conditions.

The company, which is 49 per cent owned by Deutsche Bank, is refusing to engage with the Irish state industrial relation bodies and has brought in scabs from Britain.

RMT union general secretary Bob Crow said it was ironic that, after hundreds of years of Irish labour being exploited in Britain, exploited British workers were being used to break a dock strike in Dublin.

“It’s no good blaming those workers. It is the employers and European Union rules that has created this mess and the Lisbon Treaty will make it even worse.

“This treaty is a privateer’s charter that removes power from elected governments and hands it to unaccountable EU institutions.

“This EU court has already made a number of draconian anti-trade union rulings which give big business huge new powers over organised labour.

“This has directly led to disputes like the Lindsey oil refinery strike, Irish Ferries and the current Dublin dock strike and it is time to say No once more,” he said to applause.

Frank Keoghan of the People’s Movement has also made clear in a recent pamphlet that the ECJ Ruffert judgement opens the door to the introduction of the “country of origin” principle.

“This means that contractors from other member states could exercise their freedom to provide services at the same rates and conditions of employment as apply in their country of origin, seriously undermining the wages and conditions of Irish workers,” he said.

Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins warned that the Lisbon Treaty enshrined the running of essential public services, including health and education, for profit.

“If it is passed, the EU Commission would uphold the right of big business to profit from public services, over and above the rights of workers to take action to defend these services.

“It could intervene to prevent even a mildly progressive government from investing to improve public services as this in their view ‘distorts the market’.”

Sinn Fein vice-president Mary Lou McDonald said that the Irish government was urging a Yes vote by claiming that so-called “guarantees” gained at a recent EU summit would change how the treaty would affect Ireland.

“These are cynical and empty political promises that do not alter the treaty in any way and the so-called ‘guarantees’ on workers rights simply do not address the issues concerned.

“The government could have argued for a social protocol in the treaty which trade unions have been calling for across Europe.

“Instead we have these meaningless ‘guarantees’ that are essentially designed to deflect the fact that the electorate are being asked to vote again on the same discredited treaty,” she said.

See also here.

In just a matter of weeks the fate of the Lisbon constitutional treaty should be clearer, as the Irish go to the polls in the rerun of a referendum posing a question that they’ve voted decisively on once already: here.

Speaking in response to Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore’s comments on the Lisbon Treaty today, Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has accused the Labour leader of “a massive u-turn on workers rights”: here.

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