Trade unions are the backbone of a union movement.
They play an essential role in ensuring workers’ rights and dignity.
As a result, trade unions play an important role in the political and economic life of all Irish citizens.
However, it has been widely argued that the role of trade unions in Ireland is diminished today due to the impact of austerity.
In the last ten years, trade union membership has dropped from an average of around 30,000 members in 2005 to an average below 20,000 today.
This has resulted in an exodus of unionists from the country and a sharp decline in membership of the Irish Trade Union Congress (ITUC), the biggest trade union body in Ireland.
The decline in trade union activity is due to two main factors: the fall in public spending and the rise in austerity measures that have been imposed on the Irish economy by successive governments.
In the years to 2010, the proportion of the total public sector budget that was spent on trade union activities fell from 8.5 per cent to 6.6 per cent, a fall of 22.2 per cent.
In contrast, in the years before 2010, public spending on the sector increased from 9.4 per cent in 2010 to 12.9 per cent during the first two years of austerity measures.
Trade unionism is not just a part of everyday life in Ireland, it is also a crucial political force in Ireland today.
Trade unions have played an important part in creating and building the political parties and in ensuring the democratic and equitable functioning of the political system.
The ITUC has a strong working relationship with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Party, which was established in 1875.
This relationship is further reinforced by the fact that the ITUC’s national headquarters is in Dublin, which is a major hub for Irish political and corporate activity.
In 2008, the ITU supported the re-election of the outgoing government of Martin McGuinness.
It also supported the Government’s decision to leave the EU, despite its deep concerns about the implications for the country of such a decision.
As trade unions’ political strength is diminished, the organisation is increasingly targeted by those seeking to restrict it.
During the current election campaign, trade-union leaders have been particularly targeted by the Government.
In recent months, the Government has threatened to introduce a new law banning trade unions from engaging in electioneering.
The Government has also made it clear that it will not support the introduction of a general strike.
On a more positive note, trade Unionism is seen as a means to fight for workers’ democratic rights, including the right to strike.
Trade-unionists have been instrumental in the development of Ireland’s national democratic institutions.
In 2011, the Irish Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU) was founded as an independent organisation in the wake of the death of unionist leader Eamon de Valera in 2011.
The ICFTU was instrumental in introducing universal suffrage, guaranteeing the right of workers to elect their representatives to the Irish Parliament, and in supporting the introduction and expansion of the postal service.
Trade Unionism has also been a vital force in the fight for equality and for a fairer society.
The fact that trade unions are an integral part of a political party’s agenda is often used to undermine their legitimacy and to prevent them from working towards a wider social and economic change.
There is also evidence that the Government is attempting to undermine trade unions, including through the use of new measures such as the ‘zero hour’ and ‘non-payment’ laws.
The Government is also threatening to impose a further increase in the value of union membership and other forms of financial support to unions.
A new report by the Irish Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS) and the National Institute for Social Research (NISR) shows that the Irish Government is preparing to increase the value and scope of public sector wages by a further 50 per cent over the next two years.
The NISR report warns that the threat of an additional 50 per, or 5 per cent increase in public sector wage increases is not only unjustified but could also result in further job losses and reduced public services for millions of people.
The report notes that a majority of Irish citizens do not think that union membership or public sector salaries should be increased.
However the Government may well be aiming to do just that.
The new law to increase public sector pay and conditions has been a major policy change in recent years, which has led to a substantial increase in union membership.
The move towards more and greater union membership is likely to lead to a further rise in public pay, and to a significant reduction in public services and social housing, which are essential to working people in Ireland as well as for those living in poverty.
These threats by the State are not the only reason for declining trade unionisation in Ireland and are likely to remain the main cause of declining unionism in the foreseeable future.
A key factor behind the decline of