Trade union movement calls for urgent return of Stormont Assembly

The power-sharing Assembly at Stormont collapsed in January 2017.
The power-sharing Assembly at Stormont collapsed in January 2017.
Share this article

Trade unionists have called for the urgent restoration of Northern Ireland's devolved government.

They urged the British and Irish Governments to act on compensation for historical abuse victims, "inadequate" public sector pay and a "cliff edge" change looming for those on welfare benefits.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said a permanent Forum for Social Dialogue including the power-sharing government plus the trade union movement, employers, community and voluntary sector and farming community should be established.

It added: "The Northern Ireland Committee of ICTU, as the leadership body for trade unions in Northern Ireland, and the largest cross-community civic society body in NI, affirms our commitment to the restoration of devolution to Northern Ireland within the framework of equality and rights set out in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements.

"Many of these commitments reflect the contribution made by the trade union movement to the process which resulted in the peace agreement and the establishment of devolved power-sharing government.

"NIC-ICTU also affirms our commitment to the protection and full implementation of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement to achieve an inclusive society that works for all."

The intervention followed the placing into administration of Co Antrim building firm Dixons Contractors earlier this week.

Trade unionists urged the two governments, as co-guarantors of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, as well as the political parties, to urgently address matters of serious concern to their collective membership of over 200,000 workers and the wider public.

"We seek firm commitments that action will be taken as part of a coherent, progressive and comprehensive Programme for Government, and where necessary, that legislation will be enacted without delay to address persistent and growing problems in our society."

They said a forum could be modelled on the Welsh Council for Economic Development, and could mitigate the harsh edges of Brexit and propose practical and realistic evidence-based policy solutions to the problems our society and economy faces.