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Strong and clear public reaction needed to defeat Services Directive - Morgan

27 January, 2006


Following his call this week for the Trade Union movement to work with others to mobilize the public in opposition to the Services Directive, Sinn Féin Workers Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said, “Sinn Féin activists are ready to join with the trade union movement in mobilising to oppose this directive.” Speaking at an ICTU seminar on the Services Directive in Dublin today Deputy Morgan said, “Unless there is a very strong, very clear public reaction within the next few weeks we run the risk of suffering a major defeat for millions of European workers.”

He said, “Privatisation, deregulation, the destruction of services, and the undermining of workers rights, salaries and conditions have become part of the new political consensus across Europe - a consensus to which Sinn Féin are utterly opposed. 

“Our group in the Parliament, Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), has been the most united on the issue of the Services Directive, strongly opposing it from the outset. In doing so our group has worked alongside many organisations, trade unions and social organisations, to have it withdrawn.

“Sinn Féin remains opposed to this Directive, and will vote to reject it in the European Parliament in February.  We believe that large-scale public opposition to the Directive can achieve results. We call on trade unionists to increase their pressure on MEPs, TDs and national governments to vote against the Directive.

“Some EU Governments, understanding the depth of their voters’ opposition to the Directive have said that they would not accept the proposal. The Irish government should follow suit and declare their outright opposition to any EU measure that will undermine workers rights, pay and conditions.  From their response to date I am pessimistic and believe that in the absence of a strong public reaction, the FF/PD Government will support the Directive at the Council of Ministers, if it succeeds in passing through parliament.  Public awareness of the implications of the directive is far too low at present and redressing this presents a challenge for us all. 

“We will maintain our campaign against the Services Directive for the benefit of all European workers and citizens. Unless there is a very strong, very clear public reaction within the next few weeks we run the risk of suffering a major defeat for millions of European workers.

“Sinn Féin activists are ready to join with the trade union movement in mobilising to oppose this directive.  We look forward to supporting initiatives from the trade union movement, led by Congress, to mobilise the public in opposition to this assault on workers and citizen’s rights.  The response of the Irish people to the rallying call from Congress in relation to the Irish Ferries dispute clearly illustrates that the public is ready to support actions to uphold and protect workers rights. Let’s work together to channel that support in opposition to this Directive.” ENDS

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