Workers and Unemployed Action
Constitution and Rules
The constitution and rules of Workers and Unemployed Action are set out in this document.
Workers and Unemployed Action Group (South Tipperary) decided to organise on a national basis at its Annual General Meeting held in September 2012. The organisation has been registered as a national political party under the name “Workers and Unemployed Action”. It was agreed that this would be the best way of making a further contribution to the political reorganisation of Irish working and unemployed people on a principled basis.
Already WUAG is the biggest political labour movement organisation in South Tipperary having a Dáil deputy and eight local authority seats. It is the biggest single party on Clonmel Borough Corporation holding five of the twelve seats. It has strongly out-polled the Labour Party in all recent general elections and by elections. It emerged from the local trade union movement over twenty years ago, initially, as a campaign for jobs and tax equity. Thereafter, it was found necessary to organise on an open political basis because the regular participation of the Labour Party in coalition amounted to a betrayal of workers interests which made it impossible to maintain a growing political organisation of workers.
WUAG has always been strongly influenced by the teachings of James Connolly. It was at the Irish Trade Union Congress AGM held in Clonmel in 1912, that Larkin and Connolly proposed the formation of an All-Ireland Labour Party base on trade unions north and south.
It is now 100 years since that historic event. Nationally, the state of effective political organisation of Irish workers in their own interest is now as low as it has ever been.
In response to the current unprecedented attacks on working people and the loss of even limited national sovereignty, it was decided that a further step forward was necessary and urgent at this time. All those, committed to the principles outlined in the constitution set out below and are prepared to work for their attainment who are resident in the 32-counties of Ireland are now invited to apply for membership.
The constitution and structure set out below does not purport to be a finished document. WUAG is not just another left-wing sect. It is a mass organisation of working people albeit in a single constituency. It does not attempt to impose a finished political programme or an ideology on those who wish to join. Those joining will have an opportunity to change or make additions to its constitution and structure through motions proposed at the Annual General Meeting. The document below represents the minimum with which new members must agree to be eligible for membership. It reflects current agreed thinking in WUAG with structures altered to facilitate organisation on a national basis
It is fair to say that opposition to participation in coalition governments with conservative parties and refusal to participate in unnecessary travel and conferences (“junkets”) paid from public funds have been the bedrock of its success to date and these positions will be maintained into the future. These bedrock positions held by the organisation are in the context of a wider commitment to Irish unity, independence and socialism in the Connolly tradition.
Workers and Unemployed Action
Constitution and Rules
The politics of Workers and Unemployed Action is rooted in the heritage of James Connolly, who was martyred for his participation in the 1916 Rising. We share his commitment to socialist principles and international solidarity with workers of all countries and oppressed peoples everywhere. His determination as a pioneering trade union organiser and his opposition to early signs of bureaucratisation of the trade union movement inspire us. We are committed to the restoration to the Irish trade union movement of the kind of leadership he gave it. His successful proposal, with James Larkin, of the founding of an All-Ireland Party of Labour based on the Trade unions in 1912 was a historic step forward for Irish workers. WUA is committed to the rebuilding of an all Ireland party of workers on a principled basis.
We share the view of James Connolly that a united all-Ireland republic is profoundly in the interest of all Irish workers.
We are proud of his participation in the 1916 rising and his input into the 1916 Proclamation of an All-Ireland democratic republic and his steadfast opposition to the partition of Ireland before his death. We recognise the Democratic Programme of the first All-Ireland Dáil, which was influenced by the 1916 proclamation, as a historic step towards Irish Unity, Independence and Democracy. The rejection, in practice, by all pro-establishment parties of key pillars of the Programme is a betrayal of the objectives of those who signed the 1916 Proclamation.
1. With James Connolly, Workers and Unemployed Action is committed to achieving Irish Unity, Independence and Socialism. It is opposed to any intrusion on the sovereignty of the Irish people.
2. WUA supports and defends Irish military neutrality
3. WUA supports the struggles of workers, unemployed and oppressed people all over the world.
4. It is dedicated to advancing the political reorganisation of the working class on an All-Ireland basis in a united all-Ireland party of workers.
5. It is opposed to coalition or collaboration with conservative parties in Government or other public authorities as a matter of principle.
6. Members of WUA will not participate in travel paid from public funds (“junkets”) and will oppose provision for this in local authority estimates and budgets.
7. WUA fights for full employment and the right to work at trade union rates for all.
8. WUA is opposed to cuts in pay, benefits, pensions, and entitlements of workers and their dependants in all sectors and it campaigns for such cuts to be restored.
9. WUA campaigns against cuts in public services, for the restoration of such cuts and the enhancement of public services generally
10. WUA fights for Tax Equity and demands the imposition of steep taxes on the incomes and assets of the super-rich, including tax exiles, and the alleviation of the tax burden on those on low and middle incomes. It is opposed to the imposition of the current household charge, the proposed domestic dwelling tax( “property tax”), water taxes and any other measures which have the effect of increasing the tax burden on low and middle income earners.
11. WUA is opposed to the making of repayments of private debts to large investors or bondholders of their investments in banks and other private institutions from public funds and public borrowings.
12. WUA fights for the elimination of poverty and the redistribution of wealth to those on low and middle incomes.
13. WUA campaigns for a public health service free at the point of use with access based solely on medical need.
14. WUA fights for Free Education for all at every level and a state investment programme to address education disadvantage at all levels.
15. WUA campaigns for an emergency house building programme to ensure that all local authority housing applicants will be housed within 12 months of their application.
16. WUA campaigns for free high quality child care provided by the state so that all parents can have the option to work outside the home and to avail of education and training.
17. WUA opposes anti-social behaviour and drug abuse and insists on the provision of community gardaí on the beat. WUA also calls for the provision of community and sporting facilities in all communities/estates and educational programmes at community level to address these issues.
18. WUA fights for equality in all areas of life for all irrespective of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, membership of the travelling community.
19. WUA opposes the privatisation of state companies and institutions, semi-state companies and banks and insists that all banks and finance houses be fully nationalised and integrated into the public service
20. WUA demands an effective public transport system including an upgraded nationwide rail, bus and road service in all parts of Ireland, including in rural areas.
1. WUA is constituted as follows:
Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Special General Meeting (SGM)
National Management Committee
The AGM shall be the governing body of the party and shall meet in the month of October each year. The SGM, in relation to the issue(s) on which it is convened shall have the same powers as an AGM.
Motions for the AGM will be submitted one month in advance of the AGM
Motions which have the effect of changing the constitution or rules shall require a two thirds majority of those fully paid up members present and voting at the AGM or SGM to be carried. All other motions shall require a simple majority to be carried.
Special General Meetings shall be called by the National Management Committee or by a written requisition signed by one third of members who are fully paid up. The SGM shall be called for a stated purpose.
Motions for the AGM or SGM may be submitted by a Branch or by two individual members.
Notification of the Annual General meeting together with the agenda and nominations shall issue to each member to reach each member not later than 14 days prior to the date of the meeting.
3. The National Management Committee
The National Management Committee shall meet at least once a month
The members of the national management committee and the national officers of the party shall be elected by proportional representation at the AGM.
To be eligible to stand for election to the above positions a candidate must have been a paid up member of the party for at least twelve months.
The officers shall be chairperson, secretary and treasurer. It shall be open to the AGM to elect up to three additional officers as it sees fit.
There shall be 20 ordinary members of the National Management Committee in addition to the national officers.
Two trustees shall also be elected.
Nomination of a member for election to an officer position or to the National Management Committee shall be in writing to the secretary. Any such nomination must be received not later than three calendar weeks before the date of the AGM.
The national secretary shall give an annual report to the AGM on behalf of the National Management Committee.
The national treasurer shall give a report to each AGM on the detailed financial position of the party.
The national chairperson shall deliver an address to the AGM
Branches must have a minimum of 5 members. The formation of a branch must be ratified by the National Management Committee. General branch meetings will take place at least once each month.
Branches will implement national policy at local level.
A branch may propose motions to be considered by the National Management Committee
Individuals will be admitted to membership of WUA by the national management committee on the basis of agreement with the constitution and commitment to work for the stated aims of the party. A candidate for membership must be nominated by two existing members. Members of other political parties, political organisations and political groups shall not be eligible for membership.
Following a hearing before a meeting of the National Management Committee on stated charges of unworthy conduct, a member may be expelled from the party. The expelled member shall be entitled to personally appeal to the following AGM which may confirm or overturn the expulsion.
The current annual membership fee shall be 20 Euro per year. This fee may be changed by decision of the AGM. The fee shall be paid to the national treasurer on or before July 31 each year. Any member failing to make a contribution as set out above shall be deemed out of compliance and shall be ineligible to vote or to hold office within the group for a period of 13 weeks after the arrears have been paid.
Only members who have paid their annual contribution and who have completed 13 weeks in membership shall be eligible to vote.
7. Representatives on Public Bodies
Members sitting on Public Bodies shall vote in line with the policies and constitution of WUA and shall accept direction from the National Management Committee in this regard.
All members seeking elective office shall sign a pledge administered by the National Management Committee
No member shall accept payment from public funds for journeys outside their area of residence.
Public representatives of WUA shall vote against the funding of such trips.
9. Candidates for Elective Office
Candidates for elective office will be selected by proportional representation by the members in the constituency or county council area concerned and must be ratified by the National Management Committee. The National Management Committee may nominate a candidate or candidates for any elective office.
Only party members shall be eligible for nomination to contest election to public office.
Each member nominated to contest an election to public office or selected by the party to assume a public office shall sign a pledge to abide by the policies of the party and to obey the directions of the National Management Committee
A public representative of the party who breaches the pledge shall forthwith exclude herself/himself from membership of the party.
Each member elected to public office shall make a financial contribution (in addition to membership fee) to the party as recommended by the national management committee and decided by an AGM or SGM from time to time.
The first National AGM will be held within 6 months of the official launch of this constitution and rules.
Until the first AGM is held the current Management Committee of WUAG (South Tipperary) will act as the leadership of the new party.
Text of Pledge by Candidates for Election or nomination to Public Office
In accepting the nomination of WUA to contest this election, I pledge that if elected I will promote the aims and objectives of the WUA and agree to be bound by the constitution, rules and policies of the WUA.
I understand the policy of the WUA in relation to service charges and home or “property tax” and agree to oppose and vote against any local authority Budget/Estimate or parliamentary motion or legislative measure that includes the imposition or implementation of these measures.
I understand the WUA position in relation to “junkets” and I undertake, if elected, not to support or participate in these.
I further pledge to make such a financial contribution to WUA as determined from time to time by WUA for the purpose of meeting the expenses of the party in promoting its aims and objectives