Trade unions should be neutral on delicate constitutional matters such as the border
The relationship of the Irish trade union movement North and South to the constitutional question has long been a delicate issue and the ICTU has rightly placed collective focus on social and economic policies around pay and conditions which unite workers North and South.
The border question has been left to the individual union member.
In that context, the recent launch in Dublin and Belfast of the organisation ‘Trade Unionists For A New And United Ireland’ must be seen as a retrogressive step in Irish trade unionism.
This initiative is not endorsed by ICTU but nevertheless has a destabilising , weakening and sectarianising potential .
What if there was to be a counter formation of say, ‘Trade Unionists for The UK’.
This would signal a fracture in Irish trade unionism that could do nothing but weaken the movement and maybe even lead to a major split along Orange and Green lines.
Last May in Belfast Jeremy Corbyn stated that the Labour Party would be neutral in the event of a border poll.
That is the non-partisan position that the Irish trade union movement should maintain and I would appeal to all trade unionists to resist any attempts to divide them along ethno-nationalist and sectarian lines at a time when standing firmly together against the ravages of Tory policies North and South should be paramount.
Andrew Ward, Belfast BT6