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Gail Walker's 'disgust' at unions is unjust and jaundiced

In her column, 'Why NI Water union and its work-to-rule disgust me' (DebateNI, January 20), Gail Walker says that "listening to the representatives of the union ... it makes one really despair of the society we live in".

I looked back over some of Gail's columns, half-expecting genuinely despairing calls for action on global poverty, or the necessity of public services as part of the fabric of any decent society. There weren't any.

Trade unions do, on the other hand, genuinely despair for the society we live in, which is why we fight against exploitation and we defend public services.

While Gail Walker was disgusted by us and our members' defence of their £5,000-a-year pension, we were still digesting the Oxfam report which revealed how half of the world's wealth is held by 1% of the population.

How often has Gail Walker railed against the disgusting inequality which sees 80 people own more wealth that 3.5bn people combined?

Is she disgusted that Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin, the former RBS chairman, received an annual pension of £742,000, plus a £2.3m lump sum after the bank was bailed out by the rest of us?

The UK is now the fifth-wealthiest country on Earth, but we can't afford the NHS, or respite care, or meals on wheels.

The disgusting truth, of course, is that working-class people are being squeezed while the super-rich are thriving.

Gail Walker seeks to remind us "that this isn't 40 years ago". The irony is that 40 years ago, when trade unions were less bound by legal straightjackets, the UK was a much more equal place.

RYAN McKINNEY

Assistant secretary, Nipsa

Why NI Water union and its work-to-rule disgust me 

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