James Larkin's character was that of a man who was raised in a tough part of Liverpool. Larkins father died when he was eleven and he took a succession of jobs. From butchers assistant to docker, Larkins early life and experiences moulded him into becoming the successful trade unionist that he was. The ITWGU was formed by Larkin when he came to Dublin and fought against the dreadful conditions that employees had to endure at the time and he won concessions for employees.

SIPTU, the progeny of this union has now in the modern day no backbone along with most of the other unions in existence. Through the subs that go to Labour, the Quislings who dropped us into austerity to signing up for Haddington Road and a leader like Jack O Connor at helm, SIPTU have ultimately failed in their current existence to agitate for better conditions for the majority of wokers in Ireland. When pen was put to paper on Haddington Road, this was the signalling of the downfall for most trade unions in Ireland.

(A picture above of Jack O Connor receiving a portrait of James Larkin, have a glass of milk just in case your stomach churns)

SIPTU leadership and its connections with the Labour party effectively makes them part of the problem of ineffective unions in Ireland .

Unions abroad are not tied to the government as much and if they are, still have no fear of bringing the country to a halt. COATSU in South Africa has ridden on the coat tails of the current South African Administration with a massive public sector strike and they fought off Walmart who had an interest in South Africa through a group called Massmart. Confederation Generale du Travail from France caused massive consternation when protests erupted in Paris as Sarkozy aimed at introducing zero hour contracts for students. Others that come to mind are Solidarity in Poland etc.

Trade Unions need effective leadership to achieve successful goals of equality, fairness and progress for all in society. Irish trade unions have done very little of this. There is a cure for this malaise, the members change the in efftive leadership and change the dynamics in a union so that a Union

-Can lobby for change, better laws and more social and economic equality for the upper classes.
-Creating better pay and conditions for workers.
-Ensuring better structures in society to protect the most vunerable.

The only person of note in the Irish trade union landscape with any balls is Brendan Ogle. The man who the Indo described as a 'firebrand negotiator' stood up to the corporate elite.

All of this is borne out of personal experience for me. I have been sold out I feel by CPSU as I imagine numerous others feel about trade unions.

Does anyone feel the same?