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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 March 2011

Northern Ireland: Broad left gains in union elections

Northern Ireland's largest trade union, NIPSA, has completed elections for its executive body, the general council. In a significant turnaround from last year's results, the left activist group, NIPSA broad left, which includes Socialist Party members, scored a spectacular success.

Padraig Mulholland, NIPSA Public Officers' Executive and Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) member, Belfast

The broad left increased its seats on the 25-member executive from four to 12, with three Socialist Party members topping the poll.

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) represents over 45,000 members from across the civil and public services and the voluntary sector.

Although the results leave the right wing in control, with a one seat majority, the outcome of the election is a clear signal that members want the union to change direction and to begin seriously to fight against cuts.

NIPSA has a significant membership base in health, local government and the civil service in the North. It can have a considerable influence in mobilising public sector workers for action against cuts.

Decisive control of the union executive by the right wing for the last year is one of the factors that allowed them to smother struggles by public sector workers.

Now the left on the executive can expose the union right wing and build stronger support for resistance to the cuts.

A key issue for NIPSA is taking political action to complement industrial action. The left, including the Socialist Party, has been fighting for NIPSA to do this, including supporting candidates to oppose the cuts imposed by the Northern Ireland Assembly Executive.

Last year's NIPSA conference voted by a majority to move towards political action. But the motion was lost due to the undemocratic requirement for a two-thirds majority.

In the recent elections, the broad left manifesto made the call to: "Put genuine anti-sectarian working class representatives in the Assembly to fight cuts".

The subsequent vote for broad left candidates reinforces the support for the argument for political representation.

This election is an important step in a positive direction for the left in NIPSA. With a determined left programme the union can begin to become a vehicle for resistance to cuts.

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In The Socialist 16 March 2011:


Anti-cuts campaign

Defend jobs and services: Protest 26 March

Building the battle against the cuts - now and beyond 26 March

Campaigning against all cuts and privatisation

Save our NHS!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Hutton's plans mean savage cuts - Fight to defend your pension!

Vote for a socialist alternative

Huge protests against job insecurity

The rich get richer - by another $1 trillion

Wisconsin occupation

Yahya victory

Hunger strike


Youth fight for jobs

March from Jarrow with Youth Fight for Jobs

Save our youth services

For real jobs not exploitation

Review: Classroom Warriors


Socialist Party workplace news

Northern Ireland: Broad left gains in union elections

Privatisation threat to the blood service?

Defend jobs and education at Newcastle College

Action called off by Birmingham bin workers

Left victory in building workers' union

Support the UCU strike


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Workers hit hard by earthquake and tsunami

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories: "We'll struggle like in Egypt"

Tunisia: 'You come back - we come back'

Saudi troops to suppress Bahrain protesters


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Thousands protest against Lib Dems in Sheffield

Protester challenges Lib Dem MP to debate

Students want to protest too

Thatcher was no heroine

Lively discussion at LGBT meeting

Leeds: Celebrating International Women's Day

Celebrate International Workers' Day in the Socialist with a May Day greeting


 

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