World Vol.197 (finance, etc.)


Canada Vol.57 (Ontario – Niagara Region)

Niagara Falls

St. Catharines


https://twitter.com/TourismSTC/status/1436087023639617540

Welland


https://twitter.com/niagaracollege/status/1103660592345296902
https://twitter.com/WellandTribune/status/1438959719511695370
https://twitter.com/WellandTribune/status/1438834817722880006
https://twitter.com/WellandTribune/status/1438833129049964547


World Vol.135 (U.S., etc.)


https://twitter.com/PrincetonSPIA/status/1395753248410279936
https://twitter.com/PrincetonSPIA/status/1394698757988552710


https://twitter.com/rockfordw/status/1393232361886785539


https://twitter.com/KKertysova/status/1395093524639625223


UK Vol.183 (Scottish Parliamentary and Welsh Senedd elections)


https://twitter.com/instituteforgov/status/1390247466516172801


https://twitter.com/clydebank_snp/status/1390015766553051139
https://twitter.com/AlexSalmond/status/1390078089389031428


https://twitter.com/scottishgreens/status/1389952912508571648


https://twitter.com/ScotNational/status/1389949754931564546


https://twitter.com/art_iculate/status/1389107553481678848


https://twitter.com/AndyMacMillan14/status/1389259486041448456


https://twitter.com/Politics_co_uk/status/1390010910635343872
https://twitter.com/Politics_co_uk/status/1389882570209468418
https://twitter.com/Politics_co_uk/status/1389875013210214405
https://twitter.com/TelePolitics/status/1390169960861863938
https://twitter.com/TelePolitics/status/1390135741326450696
https://twitter.com/TelePolitics/status/1390103332325314561
https://twitter.com/TelePolitics/status/1389941576433078278
https://twitter.com/TelePolitics/status/1389661194328449030


https://twitter.com/LiamFox/status/1387874637837701120


https://twitter.com/RenCouncil/status/1389988473264869377
https://twitter.com/AlbaParty/status/1389889322166411265


https://twitter.com/BBCWales/status/1389846085703770112
https://twitter.com/BBCWales/status/1388131545735630854
https://twitter.com/BBCWales/status/1388448119210221570
https://twitter.com/BBCWales/status/1388070678075744259


https://twitter.com/nationalwales/status/1389979861511458821
https://twitter.com/RICSWales/status/1390244091821166598
https://twitter.com/NationCymru/status/1390241383382925315


https://twitter.com/SeneddWales/status/1390246674627444736
https://twitter.com/YesCymru/status/1382788457672683522
https://twitter.com/Plaid_Cymru/status/1385677355067138048
https://twitter.com/Plaid_Cymru/status/1389248383240527876


https://twitter.com/WalesGreenParty/status/1389955085808111617
https://twitter.com/Politics_co_uk/status/1389999583770472452


U.S. universities and colleges Vol.40 (UCF) / Florida Vol.16


https://twitter.com/UCFSciences/status/1357690444054814721


https://twitter.com/UCF_Arboretum/status/1349751143614746629
https://twitter.com/UCFALUMNI/status/1349409938163048451


https://twitter.com/UCFGallery/status/1348730573762617346


https://twitter.com/UCFKnights/status/1341127553088536576
https://twitter.com/UCFBusiness/status/1359890441878065152
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https://twitter.com/UCFBusiness/status/1340046743719833606
https://twitter.com/ucfcah/status/1359611033099390980
https://twitter.com/ucfcah/status/1362114592680390661


https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1352321563593347072
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1351634536334057472
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1343294833679470593
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1347995809489453058
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1347640719918317568
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https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1344027662482718720
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1343560081552646144
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1362863275227054080
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1362761102203842569
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1362454834008399874
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1362422118411997189
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1361358610631069696
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1360268930460254208
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1359956351573766145
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1359930418741534729
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1359915602169786371
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1359877853467189250
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1358875246976143361
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1358501534502326274
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1358077238860603393
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1357824581625647105
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1357745553174654981
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1357486093461954560
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1357344410854256643
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1356632954043330560
https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1354837066891358210
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https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1347570014300352515
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https://twitter.com/UCF/status/1340773973060186119


World Vol.88 (U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.)


https://twitter.com/CBC/status/1352647214418579468


US Presidential Election 2020 Vol.2 (Brookings Institution)


Northern Europe Vol.2 (incl #coronavirus)


https://twitter.com/WeBuildProgress/status/1249862775926636547


https://twitter.com/urbanthoughts11/status/1146497546120048640


https://twitter.com/VisitCopenhagen/status/1151482832650457088
https://twitter.com/GoVisitDenmark/status/1155147152995291136


https://twitter.com/FinnEmbassyDC/status/1194337346453299202


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https://twitter.com/GraihaghJackson/status/1187888362771759104


https://twitter.com/NorwayinCanada/status/1186715573801099264
https://twitter.com/NorwayinIreland/status/1148699267743330304


https://twitter.com/saochair/status/1174344401038036994
https://twitter.com/IcelandArctic/status/1169621098083864576


https://twitter.com/CaixaCienciaCAT/status/1200708546448515072


https://twitter.com/swedeninuk/status/1195326183107420161
https://twitter.com/swedense/status/1120942206293106688


World Vol.15 (U.S. universities)


UK Vol.152 (think tanks)


https://twitter.com/tradegovuk/status/1157191803524698112


https://twitter.com/USAinUK/status/1144217957519826944


https://twitter.com/LiamFox/status/1143571804981776391


https://twitter.com/ZackPolanski/status/1146354545389428736


https://twitter.com/soclibforum/status/1153684139465482242


https://twitter.com/FPCThinkTank/status/1153234580905873410


https://twitter.com/FPCThinkTank/status/1124285573533974529


U.S. universities and colleges Vol.4 (universities)


https://twitter.com/LinderPG/status/1136634669175324672


Virginia Vol.3


https://twitter.com/virginia_tech/status/1007751433020682240


https://twitter.com/VT_Mag/status/1009790625439502336


https://twitter.com/rmeese/status/1002527545261264896


Wisconsin Vol.2

Wisconsin1
Wisconsin2


https://twitter.com/lourryinmyheart/status/755534062794649600


https://twitter.com/UWStevensPoint/status/993611485430669313


https://twitter.com/uw_superior/status/988843093993709568


https://twitter.com/UWM/status/999003223955566592


Minnesota Vol.3

Limestone. Silica sand. Kaolin clay.


Switzerland Vol.1

Switzerland_Cantons
Switzerland_Mountains
Switzerland_Linguistic


Cantons of Switzerland | TRAMsoft GmbH
The 10 Most Populous Cities In Switzerland | World Atlas
Switzerland’s Political System and Government | ALL ABOUT SWITZERLAND
The Federal Council, The portal of the Swiss government
Switzerland’s direct democracy (YouTube)
What Type Of Government Does Switzerland Have? | World Atlas
This is how Switzerland’s direct democracy works (31/07/2017) | Micol Lucchi WEF
Switzerland’s People Power (04/20/2017) | Catherine Bosley BLOOMBERG
7 Reasons Why Switzerland Is The Best-Run Country In The World (12/11/2012) | Max Nisen BUSINESS INSIDER
Switzerland Celebrates Europe’s Strangest System of Government (21/09/2017) | Mathieu von Rohr SPIEGEL ONLINE
The Swiss Cantonal System: A Model democracy (03/12/2000) | LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL
How Switzerland’s cabinet works – Politics in Switzerland | Just Landed
Switzerland’s 18 living ex-presidents: a political record (07/12/2017) | Thomas Stephens SWI
The political System of Switzerland | SwissCommunity
Switzerland Government | GraphicMaps
Switzerland Corruption Report | GAN BUSINESS ANTI-CORRUPTION Portal
SECRETS OF SWISS SUCCESS – LESSONS FOR NEW ZEALAND (PDF) | Oliver Hartwich The Centre for Independent Studies
https://twitter.com/Martin_Dahinden/status/984800784985526272


https://twitter.com/Swiss_Pavilion/status/897444359389552642


https://twitter.com/SwissCGNY/status/972158044732837888

https://twitter.com/BF_Nordics/status/987253273471184899


Mississippi Vol.2

Mississippi State 1


Government of Mississippi State Mississippi Maps
Government of Mississippi State Chamber of Commerce
Government of Mississippi State Economic Development
Economy of Mississippi State | @EconomyWatch
Mississippi Economy
Mississippi state budget and finances | @ballotpedia
Mississippi Agriculture Overview
@MSManufacturers
Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association (MAMA)
@mdaworks AUTOMOTIVE
Mississippi State University Office of Technology Management


cf.


Ireland Vol.29 (Economy, et al. – institutes of technology, counties, chambers, LEOs, et al.)

Carlow


Wexford


Waterford


Cork


Sligo


https://twitter.com/itsligoglobal/status/971773068581498882


Galway


Clare


Limerick


https://twitter.com/LimerickIT/status/972177745668136962


https://twitter.com/LimerickIT/status/971427484473413632


Kerry
https://twitter.com/TraleeAlliance/status/959086796004057090


Ireland Vol.28 (Economy, et al. – institutes of technology/universities, counties/cities, chambers, LEOs, et al.)

Donegal


https://twitter.com/DonegalMaps/status/974600619494428672


Louth


Kildare


Westmeath


County Dublin
Fingal


https://twitter.com/itbdublin/status/973148534311718912


https://twitter.com/DubBayPrawnFest/status/975705046628302848


South Dublin


Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown


City of Dublin


https://twitter.com/ucddublin/status/973959143055872001
https://twitter.com/DublinCityUni/status/976458468319285248


MISCELLANEOUS


Germany Vol.6 (Grand Coalition 2018 #GroKo, et al.)

Germany1Germany2
Germany: Merkel’s next cabinet shows youth trend (11/03/2018) | @dwnews
MINISTERS UNDER MERKEL: GERMANY’S NEW GOVERNMENT
Chancellor: Angela Merkel (CDU)
Chief of Staff at the Chancellery: Helge Braun (CDU)
Minister of the Interior, Heimat and Construction: Horst Seehofer (CSU)
The fight for the Foreign Ministry: Heiko Maas (SPD)
Finance Minister: Olaf Scholz (SPD)
Minister of Defense: Ursula von der Leyen (CDU)
Economic and Energy Affairs Minister: Peter Altmaier (CDU)
Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection: Katarina Barley (SPD)
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs: Hubertus Heil (SPD)
Minister for the Environment: Svenja Schulze (SPD)
Minister for Health: Jens Spahn (CDU)
Minister of Education and Research: Anja Karliczek (CDU)
Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth: Franziska Giffey (SPD-Mayor Berlin-Neukolln)
Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development: Gerd Muller (CSU)
Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure: Andreas Scheuer (CSU)
Minister for Food and Agriculture: Julia Klockner (CDU)
@cducsubt @CDU @CSU
@spdde
German Elections: Mapping Economic Policy Preferences (09/14/2017) | Caspar Kolster @gmfus
Germany: A New Government Is off to a Weak Start (03/14/2018) | @stratfor
Coalition watch – The making of a new German government (14/03/2018) | Soren Amelang, Kerstine Appunn, Sven Egenter, Benjamin Wehrmann, Julian Wettengel CLEW
Angela Merkel sworn in for fourth term as German Chancellor (03/14/2018) | Judith Vonberg @CNN
Angela Merkel re-elected as German chancellor to fourth term after five months of political deadlock (14/03/2018) | @tomemburyd @independent
The SPD just won the Frankfurt mayoralty in a landslide. So why are Germany’s cities going red? (03/15/2018) | Stephen Jorgenson-Murray @CityMetric
Merkel secures fourth term in power after SPD backs coalition deal (04/03/2018) | Philip Oltermann @guardian
The last thing Germany – and Europe – needs is a grand coalition (23/02/2018) | Timothy Garton Ash @guardian
German coalition talks to continue on Monday and focus on health and labor (02/04/2018) | Michelle Martin & Andreas Rinke @reuters
https://twitter.com/dw_politics/status/973993118608568330


https://twitter.com/dw_politics/status/973925892375367680
https://twitter.com/dw_politics/status/973895254494646272


https://twitter.com/dw_politics/status/973847104207622144


https://twitter.com/MattSmithWales/status/921700025381597184


Germany Vol.5 (Economy, et al.)

Germany’s Economy: Successes and Challenges (11/28/2017) | Kimberly Amadeo @thebalance
The Economic Miracle and Beyond
Germany: The Party System from 1963 to 2000 | Kimberly A. Allan
Focus Germany @DeutscheBank #dbresearch
How the German elections may affect Brexit | @leopoldtraugott @OpenEurope
German elections: Merkel looking for a (new) deputy (08/29/2017) | Daniel van Schoot and Stefan Koopman
Deutsche Bundesbank
Deutsche Bank
Commerzbank A.G.
KfW Group
DZ Bank Group
UniCredit Bank AG (HypoVereinsbank)
Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg
Bayerische Landesbank
Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale
Helaba
Germany | @TheEconomist
Articles on German politics | @ConversationUS
https://twitter.com/fnfnorthamerica/status/970715584538267648


https://twitter.com/boell_us/status/936310323291787265


https://twitter.com/GGrimalda/status/951775509054095360


Ireland Vol.6 (Economic Crises and the Changing Influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on Public Policy)

Here is a paper, Economic Crises and the Changing Influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions @irishcongress on Public Policy (PDF, 2010) | Dr John Hogan, Dublin Institute of Technology @ditofficial. Underlines, italicization, excerpts, et al. are on our own.

Abstract

This chapter examines the dramatic changes in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) influence over public policy during the latter half of the twentieth century.  The chapter focuses upon the impact economic crises have had on the ICTU’s role in policy-making.  The chapter concentrates, in particular, upon four periods, the late 1950s, 1970, the early 1980s and 1987, when the ICTU found its influence over public policy radically transformed.  By the late 1950s the trade union movement was invited into the policy-making process by a government desperate to revive a sclerotic economy.  During the following decade the ICTU played an integral part in the development of economic and social programmes.  In 1970, due to concerns over inflation and the increasing level of industrial disputes, the ICTU, initially under government pressure, became a party to centralised bargaining.  The National Wage Agreements that the ICTU was a party to during that decade were marked by their integration with government budgetary policy.  With active state involvement in industrial relations came ICTU involvement in policy-making.  However, by the early 1980s the Irish economy was in serious difficulties again.  This, combined with trade union and employer disillusionment that the centralised agreements were not achieving their respective objectives of full employment and low inflation and a new collation government determined to remove the unions from the corridors of power, led to the collapse of the national agreements and ICTU finding itself shut out of the policy-making process.  The years afterwards saw the economy continue to stagnate and the ICTU marginalised as a policymaking influence.  By 1987, with Ireland teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, a new Fianna Fáil government came to power seeking to promote a three year national pay agreement with the unions and employers, in the hopes of reviving the economy.  The ICTU, weakened through marginalisation and membership losses, favoured a return to centralised pay agreements.  However, these agreements ultimately came to encompass a wide range of economic/social policy commitments that went far beyond the agreements of the 1970s.

INTRODUCTION

Over the last half century, there has been a series of dramatic changes in the influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) on public policy.  This chapter examines those changes, highlighting the circumstances under which they occurred and the kinds of influence the ICTU gained and lost, as a result of its fluctuating fortunes.

By the late 1950s, the Irish economy was in serious difficulty and a mood of despair pervaded society.  Into this environment came Seán Lemass, the new Taoiseach and leader of the largest party, Fianna Fáil.  Lemass introduced new ideas on how to manage the economy and how to reform the country’s relationship with the world.  His ideas and influence transformed economic policy and had a profound influence on the role of trade unions in the formulation of public policy.

The growing economic openness of the 1960s produced incentives for new patterns of collective bargaining.  Ireland had come to rely on foreign direct investment (FDI) to promote industrialisation and employment.  In response, from the 1970s onwards, public policy was directed towards minimising strikes and restraining pay increases: ‘the then Fianna Fáil government of Jack Lynch brought the trade union movement into the policy-making process as a way of ensuring economic stability’.

However, by the early 1980s, the economy had deteriorated.  Although centralised agreements between the employers, the government and the ICTU were the hallmark of industrial relations during the 1970s, they were not achieving the unions’ objectives.  This led to reluctance on the part of the ICTU to continue participating in these agreements.  Irrespective of the unions’ attitude, they were excluded from the policy-making environment by the Fine Gael and Labour coalition government (1982-1987) as economic decline gathered momentum.

By 1987, the economy reached a historic nadir.  In response, a new Fianna Fáil minority administration sought a centralised pay agreement with the ICTU and the employers, bringing the unions’ influence directly back into the corridors of power.  This was to be the first of a series of such agreements.  The social partnership born of these agreements contributed to the transformation of society over the following decades.

The chapter is divided into four sections, each one of which deals with a particular period – the late 1950s–mid 1960s, mid 1960s–late 1970s, the early 1980s and the late 1980s – that saw the ICTU’s influence on public policy transformed.  Each section begins with a discussion on the economy at that time and the impact that this had upon government thinking.  Thereafter, the section moves on to examine how economic circumstances impacted upon the relations and interactions between the government and the trade union movement.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE TRADE UNIONS’ ROLE IN SOCIETY (1950s – MID 1960s)

The trade union movement expanded with industrialisation in the 1930s.  However, with industrialisation came inter-union rivalry.  During the 1940s Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, sought to encourage trade union rationalisation.  However, efforts to rationalise the unions created tensions that fissured the movement.  In April 1945, 15 Irish-based unions withdrew from the Irish Trades Union Congress (ITUC) and established the Congress of Irish Unions (CIU).  The existence of two rival congresses weakened the movement’s efforts, dissipated resources and rendered a common front against employers impossible.  However, in 1956, a Provisional United Trade Union Organisation was set up to co-ordinate the activities of both congresses, with a view to reunification.

The general election of 1957 resulted in a Fianna Fáil victory, and saw its 75-year-old leader, Éamon de Valera, form his final administration.  The year ‘1957 is conventionally thought of as the end of an era, marking the final exhaustion of the ideas of the first generation of political leaders’.  Two years later, de Valera was succeeded as Taoiseach by Seán Lemass.  Lemass, although almost 60, and a lifelong follower of De Valera, was nevertheless to stand for a clean break with the policies of the past and was to oversee the opening of the country’s economy.  The transformative impact of his innovative leadership, upon a then poor and insular Ireland, was to constitute the foundations upon which modern Ireland is built.

The Economic Stagnation of the 1950s

From the late 1940s onwards, the Irish economy stagnated.  Ó Gráda and O’Rourke argue that ‘in the 1950s, Ireland’s relative [economic] performance was disastrous, poorer than the European average’.  The benefits from protection had been reaped by the industrial expansion of the 1930s.  The post-war economic boom petered out at the end of the 1940s.  By the 1950s, Irish industry was supplying as much of the domestic market as it could.

OECD analysis showed agricultural production was abnormally low, while industrial output was faltering.  Per capita GNP grew at 2.4 per cent throughout the 1950s, but only because of ‘the exceptional demographic experience during this period when net migration averaged forty-one thousand persons a year’.  Yet, even this growth rate was among the lowest in the OECD.  Although employment in the economy was falling, the cost of living was still high.  The impact of these disastrous figures upon the populace at large cannot be underestimated.

In 1957, manufacturing output was no higher than in 1953, while building activity declined.  Between 1951 and 1958, GDP rose by less than one per cent per annum, employment declined by 12 per cent, unemployment rose and half a million people emigrated.  By the late 1950s, the outlook for the economy was depressing, while Europe was achieving strong and sustained growth.

The Government’s Response to the Economy

Upon his appointment as Minister for Industry and Commerce, in the new Fianna Fáil government of 1957, Lemass began implementing policies opening the state to foreign investment.  Despite fears over the competitiveness of protected Irish industry, the pressure for change increased.  By the end of the decade, both the government and opposition recognised the crisis facing the country.  During the Dáil debate on Lemass’s nomination as Taoiseach, Daniel Desmond of the Labour Party argued that it was time for the political establishment to realise that solving the problems with the economy superseded their own struggles for power.  On becoming Taoiseach in 1959, Lemass stated that the task was to consolidate the economic foundations of independence.  He brought to government vigorous entrepreneurial leadership.

The crisis in the economy prompted a fundamental reappraisal of the policies pursued up to that time.  Into this pessimistic environment came T.K. Whitaker’s report, Economic Development, in 1958.  Whitaker, then Secretary of the Department of Finance, was committed to export-led growth.  He advanced a strategy within the finance department of more planning, fewer tariff barriers and greater emphasis on productive investment: ‘It was in the atmosphere of a new government and a more active and interventionist Department of Finance, that Economic Development was born’.

This document was ‘a watershed in the modern economic history of the country’.  It proposed the gradual transition to free trade, stimulation of private investment, the reorientation of government investment towards more productive uses, the introduction of grants and tax concessions to encourage export orientated manufacturing and the inducement of FDI oriented manufacturers.  The document advocated abandoning the protectionism Fianna Fáil had pioneered since the 1930s.  These measures were incorporated into the First Programme for Economic Expansion in November 1958.  This White Paper, based on Whitaker’s document, ‘was drawn up by Charles Murray of the Department of Finance, supervised by a four-member Government subcommittee headed by Lemass’.  The fact that Lemass was involved in the White Paper ensured that the essence of Economic Development’s recommendations remained intact:

While there were some significant differences between Economic Development and the [First] Programme for Economic Expansion, which arose out of their different parentage, such differences were for the most part cosmetic as the main thrust of both documents was the same.

The ICTU Brought in from the Cold

The ITUC and CIU eventually reunited after 15 years apart.  The absence of ideological and organisational differences between the congresses made the process of reunification easier. …

Soon after Lemass became Taoiseach he sought a meeting with the ICTU to discuss the challenges facing the economy and how co-operation might be fostered between the various economic interests.  The number of meetings between the new Taoiseach and the unions increased thereafter, whereas there had been little interaction with de Valera.  These meetings covered a range of issues, from the economy to the prospects of Ireland joining the European Economic Community (EEC).  This development was in line with the calls for consultation between state, unions and employers contained in the First Programme for Economic Expansion.

The Fianna Fáil government’s 1958 and 1959 budgets reflected a change in fiscal policy.  Lemass’s speeches in 1959 often paralleled the positions adopted by the ICTU.  These included the need for state involvement in development and the expansion of the state sector.  The ICTU argued that the government should pump-prime the economy for growth and that capital investment should not be pursued to the detriment of social spending.  Within a year of Lemass becoming Taoiseach, budgets began expanding, with increased investment in areas identified by Congress.  By 1961, the reshaping of public capital expenditure, to give increased emphasis to directly productive investment, something the trade unions had argued for, stimulated economic growth.  A policy of grants and tax exemptions attracted foreign capital and the government also pursued an increasingly liberal trade policy.

The Unions and Their Role in Policy Development

Until the 1950s, the unions’ influence was largely indirect.  However, during the late 1950s, the government’s policies began to reflect those of the unions.  Lemass’s perspective on economic development was close to that of Congress.  In June 1959, Lemass remarked on the need for change in industrial development policy.  The government began to regard the trade union movement in general, and the united Congress in particular, as both an ally and supporter of its programme for national development.  The task of adjusting industries to competition led public policy into the realms of labour practices, industrial relations and pay bargaining.  In return, Lemass was prepared to offer the unions an integral part in the development of economic and social programmes:

He [Lemass] clearly understood that the government would have to play a more active, even hegemonic, role in the Irish economy, but he also realised that the success of government strategy assumed a new partnership with different interest groups, which would (in time) become players in the policy game.

In 1961, the ICTU and the Federated Union of Employers (FUE) reached agreement on the formation of the Employer-Labour Conference (ELC), which the government subsequently facilitated.  This body became central to corporatist control.  The unions’ increasing influence was visible in all areas of government policy.  For instance, the 1961 budget saw increases in social welfare payments at the behest of Congress.

Lemass argued that social progress would follow from economic development…  With the move towards the liberalisation of trade and economic planning, Lemass was instrumental in creating consultative bodies involving the unions and employers…

Union membership, declining throughout the 1950s, increased after 1959 and would go on rising for the next 21 years.  After 1959, the number of committees on which the ICTU was represented expanded.  The Irish National Productivity Committee (INPC) was a joint consultative body charged with improving productivity.  The Committee on Industrial Organisation (CIO) was set up in 1961 to examine the ability of Irish industry to compete within the EEC.  The National Industrial and Economic Council (NIEC) was established in 1963 as a consultative body in economic planning.  These bodies, paralleling ‘the state’s commitment to economic planning as contained in the first two programmes for economic expansion’, permitted the unions to co-operate with the state on a range of problems posed by economic expansion.  Thus, the period between 1959 and 1965 was to witness a new pattern of Congress participation in state institutions, such that ‘[t]he institutional setting soon became largely tripartite, with the representatives of business, of labour and of government discussing the issues of employment, output, prices and trade’.

THE MOVE TO CENTRALISED BARGAINING (MID 1960 – LATE 1970s)

In the 1960s, the economy performed well, real Gross Domestic Product  (GDP) increased by 4.4 per cent per annum, economic openness grew by 23 per cent, while unemployment averaged 5.05 per cent.  Economists attribute this success to export-led growth based upon trade liberalisation and FDI.

The Institutionalisation of the ICTU/Government Relationship

Congress’s attitude to EEC entry was initially cautious, but by 1962 it was willing to support Lemass’s plans.  Congress, recognising free trade as inevitable, decided to embrace it from a position of influence with the government through membership of the CIO and NIEC… the limitations of relying on a web of collaborative bodies to oversee economic adjustment, while collective bargaining remained unregulated, became clear.

The government’s attitude towards collective bargaining was influenced by its increasing economic significance.  As more workers became unionised, bargaining exerted a major influence on macroeconomic policies.  Industrial development’s pride of place in national policy influenced the government’s stance towards centralised collective bargaining.

Lemass had urged a corporatist strategy towards industrial relations following the Second World War.  Corporatism (or as it is sometimes called neo-corporatism) is an inclusive bargaining approach involving the unions, employers and government.  However, the employers’ and unions’ preference for the status quo – free collective bargaining – prevented corporatism’s introduction. …

The pay-rounds of the 1960s prompted attempts to again centralise collective bargaining.  Growing trade union power, rising industrial conflict and wage pressures impelled governments to adopt a more interventionist stance.  The dangers of economic crisis from industrial unrest and an unprecedented pay-round increase in 1969 were the catalysts for the move towards corporatism.  This resulted in the unions’ influence over public policy increasing substantially. Throughout the following decade, pay determination became increasingly politicised and public policy was directed towards minimising strikes and restraining pay.

Economic Stagnation at the Beginning of the 1970s

Economic expansion and decentralised collective bargaining were viewed as incompatible in the NIEC’s Report on Incomes and Prices Policy.  To compound matters, economic growth slowed.  Statistics for output, employment, imports and sales all indicated a stagnating economy.  Industrial production and construction activities were affected by strikes, while investment was depressed by a six-month bank strike.  Inflation was running at 8.5 per cent, its highest level since 1952.  The OECD argued that the high level of inflation was partly due to the labour disputes.  The Central Bank warned that the penalty for high and prolonged inflation would be declining sales, followed by a fall in production and employment.  The improvements in living standards in the 1960s were in danger of being lost to inflation.  At this time, economic openness declined, while the total number of days lost through economic disputes peaked at over one million.

The Government’s Deepening Relations with the Unions

‘The chief lesson emerging from the operation of collective bargaining in the 1960s was that decentralised wage rounds were by their nature unstable and prone to inflation’.  The government’s economic policy, traditionally geared to long-term growth and industrialisation targets, from 1969, became increasingly concerned with inflation.  Demand and output were depressed by the government’s anti-inflationary policy and the recession in the United Kingdom.  The combination of relatively slow growth, inflation and a large external deficit in 1970 presented a dilemma.  As prices became a primary concern, budgetary strategy was aimed at moderating government spending so as not to contribute to inflation.  In response, the government’s policies towards organised labour changed.

The NIEC viewed economic expansion and decentralised collective bargaining as incompatible.  The 1970 budget argued ‘the principle need at present is for a more orderly development of incomes if we are to bring the present inflationary situation under control’.  Another lesson from the 1960s was the need for a joint body to administer national pay agreements.  It was against this background of industrial strife and economic difficulties that the NIEC prepared its Report on Incomes and Prices Policy.  A consequence was the reconstitution of the ELC in May 1970 (which had become defunct during the early 1960s), a significant event in restructuring the adversarial approach to industrial relations.  The government became a participant in the ELC with the intention of influencing wages.  Then Minister for Finance, George Colley, stated that the economy could not afford wage increases unrelated to productivity increases.  Following the collapse of talks at the ELC in the autumn of 1970, the government threatened statutory controls on wages and salaries with a Prices and Incomes Bill.

… it should be noted that the ICTU refused to ratify the agreement until the government withdrew its Prices and Incomes Bill.  The 1970 agreement marked the beginning of a decade of engagement in centralised collective bargaining, a significant change in the politics of pay determination.  Between 1972 and 1978, six National Wage Agreements (NWA) were reached through bipartite negotiations between the ICTU and employers.  A further two agreements reached in 1979 and 1980, referred to as National Understandings (NU), were arrived at through tripartite negotiation with the involvement of the government.

By the mid-1970s, the new collective bargaining was marked by quid pro quo arrangements on taxation between the unions and the state and the integration of government budgetary policy into national pay determination.  The linkage between the national pay agreements and government budgetary policy was ‘the most profound change in the nature, functions and prerogatives of democratic government in the history of the state’.  With active state involvement in industrial relations came union involvement in policymaking.  The relationship between the ICTU, the FUE and the government had changed significantly.

Trade Union Representation and Government Policies

… following the 1970 agreement, the boundary between politics and industrial relations was dismantled by the state and unions.  ICTU representation on government committees, in the economic and social fields, expanded.  All centralised pay agreements were drafted and concluded by employer and trade union representatives in the reconstituted ELC and thereafter adopted as state policy. …

The 1970s saw union membership expand.  Throughout that decade the unions’ and employers’ federations became major actors in policy formulation. … there was a marked change in the level of ICTU policies incorporated into the government’s policies.  The Industrial Relations Act of 1971 largely followed the proposals of the ICTU, and the National Prices Commission was established by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce in line with Congress’s proposals. … By the end of the 1970s, formal tripartite agreements were concluded.  The government went from using budgetary policy to underwrite national pay deals, to placing a range of policy issues on the negotiation table.  The ICTU, through dialogue with the government, gained influence over the most important economic policy instruments in the state.

Industrial relations difficulties – attributed to the wage round system and free collective bargaining – along with inflation, the loss of competitiveness and industrial conflict, impelled the centralisation of collective bargaining.  With the conclusion of the NU in 1979, the government acknowledged a new role for pressure groups in an important sector of economic policy-making and incurred commitments to them; they, in turn, incurred reciprocal obligations involving the conduct of their members.  However, by 1978, the ICTU had grown strong due to the state’s willingness to grant it concessions.  This became clear in 1980…  This left the employers disgruntled and questioning their place in social partnership.

THE COLLAPSE OF CENTRALISED BARGAINING (EARLY 1980s)

By the close of the 1970s, centralised agreements had become policy agreements.  However, by the time the second NU expired in 1981, the unions and employers were disillusioned.  The sought after economic stability had not materialised. …

The Economy Crisis and Economic Policy

The centralised agreements, implemented as solutions to the economic and industrial relations problems of the 1960s, were increasingly relied upon to address the problems of the 1970s.  The late 1970s saw the economy recover from the downturn following the 1973 oil crisis.  Inflation and unemployment began to fall, while strong growth returned.  Real GDP increased by 5.3 per cent annually from 1976 to 1979.  However, the Fianna Fáil government of 1977 employed an expansionist fiscal policy when the economy was already growing unsustainably.  Strong pro-cyclical policies led to deterioration in fiscal balances, with the public sector borrowing requirement (PSBR) rising from 13 per cent of GNP in 1976 to 17 per cent by 1979.  The structural problems highlighted by the first oil crisis remained unresolved when the second crisis struck in 1979.

Adjustment to the European Monetary System (EMS), entered in 1979 after severing the link with Sterling to reduce inflation, proved problematic and inflation fell more slowly in Ireland than the UK.  The average rate of consumer price increase in 1980 was 18.25 per cent.  Although high levels of current expenditure produced a budgetary over-run in 1979, the government continued its expansionary policies due to the worsening international economic climate resulting from the second oil crisis, increasing unemployment and emigration.

Following rapid growth in the second half of the 1970s, demand fell in the early 1980s.‘The second oil shock, the protracted international recession and the failure to achieve the fiscal policy of retrenchment led to a worsening of [economic] imbalances’.  With a slowdown in growth, unemployment rose to historic levels.  The increase in fiscal deficit, intended to be temporary, became impossible to eliminate as the economy declined.  By 1981, the national debt reached £10.195bn.  The PSBR peaked at 20.1 per cent of GNP, while the current budget deficit stood at 7.3 per cent.  Government spending was so high that the total amount budgeted for 1981 had been used by June.

The Unions and the Ending of the National Agreements

Taoiseach Haughey, who came to power after winning a divisive party leadership contest within Fianna Fáil in December 1979, needed to prove his authority to a divided party with an election victory.  In this context, the government was reluctant to adopt measures that could prove unpopular.  In September 1980, as talks on a second NU entered their final stages, they collapsed, resulting in government intervention.  ‘The Taoiseach managed to press the FUE national executive into resuming negotiations by pledging guarantees on the content of the 1981 budget’.  The second NU was subsequently ratified, but the FUE resented the pressure brought upon it.

Centralised bargaining was not meeting the FUE’s objectives.  For employers,  particularly in indigenous companies in exposed sectors, the agreements imposing similar wage norms across the economy undermined competitiveness.  For the unions, the agreements were not transforming pay restraint into jobs at a sufficient level to meet the labour supply, nor were they reducing social inequality.  The state looked to the agreements to restrain pay increases, preserve competitiveness and deliver economic growth.  However, these objectives were compromised by extensive bargaining below national level.  The result was a second tier of pay determination developed in the 1970s.  Although the agreements had procedures for containing industrial conflict, this was historically high during the 1970s.

Irish governments have tended to appease interest groups through ad hoc policy concessions.  This worked against enduring agreements between the state and interest groups found in continental neo-corporatism.  Additionally, close ideological affinity between the unions and government, a feature of stable neo-corporatist arrangements, was absent in Ireland.  The social partners’ failure to share comparable views on the policies needed for tackling economic problems compounded difficulties.  Employers warned that spiralling wages fuelled inflation and contributed to rising unemployment.  The unions argued unemployment was a consequence of deficient demand.  Their solution was expansionary fiscal policy.  Employers resisted the demands for public sector job creation on grounds that it would have a crowding out effect. …

Political and Economic Instability

The general election of 1981 saw a minority Fine Gael and Labour coalition government come to power.  At a most inopportune time, Ireland was condemned to a period of unstable government.

Prior to the election, the Central Bank stated the ‘fundamental problem is that the community still does not realise that it must adjust its living standards and expectations downwards in the face of deteriorating terms of trade and the need to commit resources to servicing the increased external debt’.  The new coalition government was determined to bring order to the public finances.  According to the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), a spiralling current budget deficit, PSBR and national debt precipitated a new approach to economic management.  Regaining control of the public finances would entail constraining public service pay. …

Government ministers saw little merit in tripartite agreements.  When discussions on a new NU broke down, the government was unwilling to intervene to save the talks. … From late 1981 onwards, with worsening economic conditions, wage rounds became decentralised.  By 1982, all political parties were committed to curbing public spending, which was incompatible with the terms of the NUs.  Union influence on public policy was drastically reduced during the first half of the 1980s, as the ICTU was pushed out of the policy-making process.  The Fine Gael wing of the coalition decided social partners had no right to influence policy.

Political and economic instability peaked in 1981-1982.  With the national debt and budget deficit spiralling out of control, a coherent policy approach was essential.  However, the governments of 1981/1982 lasted such a short time that no clear policies emerged.  When the second Fine Gael-Labour coalition came to power in November 1982, the national debt was almost on par with GNP.  By then, all the parties agreed on the need to stabilise the debt/GNP ratio.

The state’s strategy for much of the 1980s was to exclude the unions from the policymaking process.  State policy changed from focusing on employment to balancing budgets, export growth and international competitiveness.  Persistent turbulence over public service pay, and government disinclination to return to tripartism, meant meetings between the government and the ICTU were formal, tense and unproductive.

The Changed Influence of the Unions

After expanding for two decades, union membership peaked at 545,200 in 1980 and then declined thereafter.  During the late 1970s, the unions’ polices had been finding their way into legislation.  However, by January 1982, the ICTU was at loggerheads with the Fine Gael-Labour coalition over their budget.  Determined to cut government expenditures, the subsequent Fianna Fáil government ignored ICTU proposals.  From mid-1982, in the face of an unsustainable national debt, all political parties committed themselves to curbing public expenditure as a precondition for economic recoveryThe Fine Gael-Labour coalition budget of February 1983 saw the tax burden on pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) workers increase and social welfare cut.  Thereafter, it was clear that on taxes, wages and welfare, the government and ICTU were in disagreement. …

The coalition government of November 1982 to February 1987 experienced considerable difficulties in righting the economy.  As McCarthy put it ‘an attempt to achieve fiscal correction and disinflation through increased taxation, rather than expenditure reduction, completed the economic picture’.  However, the stabilisation of the debt required sharp cuts in borrowing and, consequently, in current spending.  Control over current spending proved difficult to achieve with high unemployment and population growth.  Government spending on social services jumped from 28.9 per cent of GNP in 1980 to 35.6 per cent in 1985. … With investment and productivity capacity depressed by high taxes and interest rates, the economy entered a downward spiral.

THE REINSTITUTION OF CENTRALISED BARGAINING (LATE 1980s)

The 1980s saw a stagnating economy, deteriorating public finances and unprecedented unemployment.  By the mid-1980s, the level of unemployment was being offset by emigration.  Between 1981 and 1986, 75,000 people left the country, and, for the first time in a quarter of a century, 1986 saw the population decrease.  By 1987, the economy reached its lowest point ever.

The State of the Economy

By 1986, most economic indicators had reached historic lows, while national economic and political commentators, the media and domestic and international organisations, all regarded the economy as in crisis.  The policies introduced to shelter the economy from the oil shocks of the 1970s led to unsustainable macroeconomic imbalances.  Between 1982 and 1987, the national debt doubled to over 130 per cent of GNP.  The government borrowed to spend on welfare services that could be sustained only by more borrowing.  Economic commentators advocated debt repudiation.  Although inflation had fallen, the borrowing requirement stood at 13 per cent of GNP in 1986.  Unemployment reached 17.7 per cent in 1987, with 254,526 people out of work.  The numbers in work had fallen from 1,145,000 in 1979 to 1,095,100 by 1986, shrinking the tax base.

The Central Bank viewed the situation with pessimism, as it would not permit for improvements in welfare benefits to the needy.  The business community was extremely concerned and leading businessman and entrepreneur Tony O’Reilly warned of the dangers of International Monetary Fund (IMF) intervention in the economy.  If the IMF were to intervene in the operation of the Irish economy, it would signal to the international financial community the diminution of Irish economic sovereignty and be widely perceived as confirmation that the Irish government was incapable of righting the economy on its own.

The NESC Report: A Strategy for Development

In this context, the government became interested in building support among the economic and social interests for a national recovery strategy.  Through the involvement of the major economic interests, the NESC acted as a forum for discussing the crisis.  In the autumn of 1986, it produced a report A Strategy for Development, 1986-1990, in which it noted that ‘[t]he argument against a continuation of present policies is based on the consideration that discretion over economic and social policy would ultimately be removed from [Irish] control’.

The NESC report emphasised a plan, requiring an integrated medium term strategy that would command acceptance throughout society to tackle the crisis in public expenditure.  The report was conceived as a means of supporting the coalition government’s recovery plans.  While still in opposition, Fianna Fáil proposed building on the NESC’s report and its 1987 manifesto, The Programme for National Recovery, absorbed much of A Strategy for Development.

The 1987 General Election

By 1986, Fianna Fáil, in opposition, was aware that the unions were disillusioned with the government, especially the Labour Party.  In the absence of political links, the union movement faced the prospect of continued marginalisation from policy debates.  Spotting an opportunity, Fianna Fáil sought to woo the unions through its willingness to involve them in policy discussions if elected to government.  It did not regard th