Article from the Jan 2005 issue of the Socialist , newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI

Dublin Airport: SIPTU support privatisation!

by Michael O'Brien

THE FOCUS in Dublin Airport has moved on to funding for the second terminal. The likes of Ryanair have been given acres of column inches and airtime to promote their vision of a second terminal.

Now it has emerged that SIPTU full time officials have been encouraging SIPTU members to be prepared to invest in a private company to build the terminal! This is from the union leaders who never tire of telling us that they are against privatisation.

They have effectively conceded that a new terminal will depend on private as opposed to public investment. In fact they have initiated a campaign to promote the idea of airport union members, past and present, clubbing together to come up with a 15% share in a new terminal in the event of there being no state investment.

Their promotional material puts an entirely positive spin on the potential outcome, promising the possibility of a seven fold return on a 4,000 investment by each worker. SIPTU are actively supporting privatisation!

The reality is that as in other privatisations, small scale investors are eventually bought out by big companies, and these companies in the name of competition will attempt to increase their profits through the casualisation of labour at the second terminal. In other words, SIPTU officials are encouraging trade unionists to invest in a privatisation process that will lead to "yellow pack" low paid jobs at Dublin Airport.

The literature that SIPTU sent to its members contains no talk of mounting a campaign for state investment and for decent wages, conditions and trade union rights for the workers in the second terminal.

Yet the government's recent stalling on their privatisation plans for Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta shows that a campaign for a public owned second terminal could be successful.

Earlier reports of struggles in the airports are available in our sitemap

More articles from this issue of the Socialist are listed here.