Sinn Féin - On Your Side

de Brún meets with representatives of ICTU on defence of public services

13 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún met with representatives from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in Brussels this afternoon. The meeting was arranged to discuss the controversial EU Services Directive.

Ms de Brún said that Sinn Féin was 'totally and absolutely opposed to the privatisation of essential public services'.

Ms de Brún said:

"Today's meeting with the ICTU had been arranged to discuss the controversial EU Services Directive (Bolkestein Directive). The issue has become all the more important as it is due before a number of committees in the European Parliament in the next number of weeks. I told them of our absolute opposition to a directive which threatens public services throughout the EU, particularly in key areas such as health and education.

"The Services Directive in its present form would allow private companies to undercut public service providers by employing people on the salaries of their country of origin and under the employment conditions of their country of origin. This could lead to massive redundancies of public sector workers across Ireland, and the creation of a new underclass of migrant workers, whose rights would not be protected by employment law in Ireland.

"The clear logic of Charlie McCreevy and the European Commission appears to be to get workers across Europe competing with each other in a "race to the bottom" with regard to pay and conditions

"The ICTU representatives we met this afternoon stressed that the Services Directive in its present form is a major threat to collective agreements, threatens the European social model and would undermine national control over core public services.

"Sinn Féin believes that the on-going process of the privatisation of public services has not brought any visible gains to the public, rather it has led to price increases, a marked decrease in the service provided and increases in the cost of provision according to consumer associations. In addition, this process contributes to destroying jobs and invariably leads to the creation of private monopolies.

"The meeting with the ICTU was a useful opportunity to seek a common approach to the proposed Services Directive. The matter will be hotly debated at home and at European level in the time ahead. The European elites must be challenged regarding their relentless drive towards privatization and the erosion of workers' rights. Sinn Féin is telling the European Council and Commission clearly that our public services are not for sale." ENDS

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