Speaking at an ICTU conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has called for immediate restoration of the power sharing Executive, and an urgent financial investment by the British government to resolve public sector pay disputes and to stabilise public services in the north.
The Party’s Workers Rights spokesperson said:
“The Tory government has brought nothing but chaos and austerity to the north during the last 13 years.
“The GFA has not been fully implemented and the promised Bill of Rights has never been delivered. This is now compounded by the refusal of one party to allow for restoration of the power sharing Executive, and in defiance of two successive elections. As a result, more damage has been done to public services already crippled by Tory cuts, and many workers and families have had to endure increased hardships.
“Public patience has run out. The political institutions must be restored immediately, with a financial package to resolve public sector pay awards on a sustainable basis and to properly stabilise public finances. The crisis in public services should be addressed with the introduction of a needs based Barnett Formula, and fiscal powers being transferred to a new Executive.
The South Antrim MLA also called for the development of a social dialogue between a new Executive and the Trade Union Movement.
“For too long local trade unionists have been unable to input to our political institutions, and they have been prevented from making a constructive contribution to public policy. That must change. Social dialogue between new Ministers and ICTU should be adopted as a key priority by any new Executive.”
Addressing the the need to plan and prepare for Irish unity, Declan Kearney also said:
“Constitutional change is now on the political horizon. ICTU is the largest civic society organisation in Ireland, and trade unionists north and south need to ensure that the priorities of workers and families are made central to the conversation about how a transition to reunification is facilitated in the time ahead.”