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Dublin politician condemns ‘disgrace’ of Unite’s treatment of Ogle

“An organisation which wouldn’t allow one of its members be victimised by an employer is now engaging in the same shameful tactics of a rogue employer.” Irish union leader Brendan Ogle is being targeted because he’s good at his job, says independent politician Cieran Perry as Unite’s Irish crisis grows

Cieran Perry is an independent councillor in Dublin with extensive experience of Unite Ireland leader Brendan Ogle through the country’s Right2Water campaign. Unite in the UK is attempting to oust Ogle after his return from successful treatment for cancer, ‘coercing’ him into a demotion in an office a hundred miles from his home base, according to Ogle’s wife Mandy La Combre.

And what began as a public complaint has turned into a crisis for the UK and Ireland’s largest union: at first branches began to vote heavily to condemn the union’s alleged move – and then today Unite’s whole energy branch has threatened to disaffiliate from Unite completely, so great is the outrage at the union’s conduct and its consequences.

Perry signalled his support for Ogle two days ago with a Twitter post saying bluntly that Ogle is Ireland’s best trade union leader by a mile and condemning what is being done to him as ‘disgraceful’:

And today Perry returned to his theme in an extensive Facebook post extolling Ogle’s work and results and warning that Ogle’s absence will impoverish the entire movement, if the move to oust him succeeds – and that while he still encourages everyone to join a union, they need to do so despite unions’ leadership and not because of it:

Join a Union……….. despite the union leadership!

It’s important to state that joining a union is the best way to protect yourself and your colleagues in the workplace. Unionised workplaces have better pay and conditions. Even if your union is shit, solidarity in the workplace will make an employer think twice about trying to screw you.

Having said that, most union members have a fairly cynical view of unions. Unions should not be arbitrators between workers and management but that’s what most Irish trade unions appear to believe is their role. The questionable running of most unions and the political influence in some unions has always been a concern. When the private banking sector crashed the country economically in 2008 the trade union movement was nowhere to be seen. Despite private sector responsibility for the crash the Government targeted the public sector, slashed their pay, forced them to work longer hours and attacked their working conditions. And the unions stood idly by. An opportunity to lead the opposition to austerity and the neo-liberal Government was lost.

During the water tax protests a small number of progressive unions played a significant role. Working with communities and supportive political parties, these unions regained some of the trust lost during the economic crash. The leading union official was Brendan Ogle of Unite and he did more than most to contribute to the success of the campaign. We still don’t pay water tax today due to that victory.

Most of the unions involved in the water tax campaign have been neutered since the success of the campaign. The establishment were determined to extract revenge and some of the complicit unions were only too willing to assist. Unlike many trade union leaders Brendan is not averse to leading workers in struggle with employers, winning important victories for working people throughout his career and this remains an embarrassment for some.

Brendan is now paying the price for the successful uprising against the water tax. Disgracefully, it appears that his own union is attempting to sideline the most senior Unite official in the 26 counties. Particularly despicable is using his life threatening cancer as opportunity to get rid of him.

Brendan wouldn’t allow some of the parasitic political parties involved in the water tax campaign use the campaign for their own benefit and these parasites have also been wating on their chance for payback.

Brendan, like myself, backed the losing candidate in the Unite Regional [sic] Secretary elections last year. Accusations have been made that the winning candidate is purging supporters of the losing candidates throughout the union. The snakes in Unite who have always opposed Brendan’s progressive politics have taken this opportunity to undermine him.

If they succeed in getting rid of Brendan it will be a huge setback for progressive politics in the trade union movement but more importantly, it will be a confirmation of all that is wrong with trade unionism in Ireland. An organisation which wouldn’t allow one of its members be victimised by an employer is now engaging in the same shameful tactics of a rogue employer.

Please support the reinstatement of Brendan Ogle.

Join a Union.

Unite has failed to respond to requests for comment today.

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