Belfast Telegraph

Union urges fiscal treaty no vote

One of the country's biggest trade unions will tell its members to vote no in the stability treaty referendum, it has decided.

The Government's yes campaign hit a major setback as Mandate claimed the treaty, if passed, will institutionalise austerity in Ireland for decades to come.

General secretary, John Douglas, said he would make no apology for campaigning against the fiscal treaty ahead of the referendum on May 31.

"The fiscal treaty, if passed, will not create one job," Mr Douglas warned. "On the contrary it will legally lock down Irish economic activity at its current levels, and may even shrink domestic demand further leading to mass unemployment, decades of emigration and sow the seeds for future social conflict.

"We strongly urge all our members not only to vote no to the treaty, but to get involved in their local 'no campaign'."

Mandate is one of the country's largest unions and represents over 45,000 workers, mainly in the retail trade. It revealed its decision at its biennial delegate conference in Wexford as a poll showed 55% of the public do not understand the treaty.

Mr Douglas told more than 300 delegates that austerity policies being pursued by Government as part of the ongoing Troika bailout agreement are choking the life out of the Irish economy, particularly the domestic economy. "This treaty has nothing to do with 'good housekeeping' or 'managing the household budget'," he added.

"It is about copper fastening into an internationally legally binding agreement, decades of austerity, social exclusion, mass long term unemployment and emigration - and a continuation of attacks on workers' rights and the welfare system. It is not about what is good for Irish citizens, or the citizens of Europe, it is a treaty of the Right for the Right."

Government ministers said Mandate's decision was disappointing. Joan Burton maintained the national debate on the stability treaty was only getting under way.

"I believe that saying yes to the stability treaty is vital for a stable currency, for investor confidence, for economic recovery, and for a vote of confidence in Ireland's future," she said.

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