New 80,000-strong public service union to be created
A new public service union called Fórsa, with over 80,000 members, will come into being in early 2018 after the members of the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU), IMPACT, and the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU) voted to amalgamate the three organisations.
Fórsa will represent workers across the civil and public services, commercial and non-commercial semi-state organisations, the community and voluntary sector, and private companies in aviation and telecommunications. It will be the second largest union in the country, and the strongest and most influential trade union voice in the public service and semi-state sector.
The members of each of the three unions strongly backed the amalgamation, voting by 76% (CPSU), 86% (IMPACT) and 70% (PSEU) in favour. The Registrar for Friendly Societies, which regulates Ireland’s trade unions, is now expected to sanction the merger in early 2018.
Fórsa will represent literally hundreds of different grades, professions and occupations. It will represent around 30,000 civil servants, 30,000 health workers, 12,000 education staff, 10,000 local authority workers, and 6,500 people in semi-state organisations and private companies.
Speaking after the announcement of the final ballot results, IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said: “Fórsa will be a progressive platform for trade unionism in Ireland. It will strengthen the hand and amplify the voice of civil and public servants and the vital services they provide. It will work for a more prosperous and secure future for the 80,000-plus workers we now represent and the thousands more that need the protection of a strong, sure friend in the workplace and in our communities.”
PSEU Scrutineers Laura Horohan, Ger O'Donoghue and Fran Doyle count the ballots.
PSEU general secretary Tom Geraghty said: “Today is an historic occasion for public servants, the Irish trade union movement and for all who believe in a fairer society. The executive committees and union activists who made this happen have every reason to take pride in their achievement. We will repay our members’ faith by building an organisation they can be proud of and by re-establishing the centrality of workers’ voices in the decisions that matter.
CPSU general secretary Eoin Ronayne said: “Fórsa brings together thousands of similar grades of workers across the civil and public services into one organisation for the first time. The new union is committed to securing better terms and conditions for its members, while being determined to work for the provision of better public services for all.”
CPSU president Ann McGee said: “This is an historic day for the CPSU as we join with our sister unions IMPACT and the PSEU to create one new union voice for so many thousands of workers who serve the citizens of the state. I am confident that Fórsa will be good for our members and good for public services.”
PSEU president Niall McGuirk said: “It has been an honour to be involved in this process and the real work starts today. It’s now up to us all to ensure this force is one to be reckoned with, and we relish the challenge to work for all our members."
IMPACT president Pat Fallon said: “Fórsa will amplify the workers’ voice, not just in the public service, but also in commercial and non-commercial semi-state organisations, the community and voluntary sector, and many private companies. This new organisation will be stronger and better resourced than what went before – and equally determined to protect the interests of every group within the civil service and across our membership.”