In Ireland, after four years of an austerity program we now find the economy is getting worse and not better. Most of society is asking where it all went wrong and what the solutions are. The trade union movement in Ireland appears to be divided on the approach we should take on the economy. Citizens of countries with austerity programs like Spain, Italy and Portugal are protesting and it’s mostly organised and led by the trade unions. But in Ireland there appears to be no will on behalf of some trade unions to take this approach. So why is this?
Did the trade union movement lose its way during social partnership and now finds it very difficult to cut the umbilical cord from the corporatist approach? Some people may even argue the trade union movement were complicit in the financial crisis, in that they had gone a step too far in their relationships with the Government and no one from the trade union spoke out at the time, on the economic and social policies implemented by the government.