The second stage of the “Towards 2016” salary conditions was adopted in September 2008 and adopted by a vote of ICTU delegates by 305 votes to 36 in November. Trade unions, which had previously spoken out against wage agreements or abstained from wage agreements, took a much more favourable stance in the face of rapid rising unemployment and deteriorating public finances. Unite, the merger of the UNIONS ATGWU and Amicus, based in the United Kingdom, was the main opposition. What about negative opinions? While the partnership may have helped to ensure a well-performing economy, not all citizens were part of the process. In addition, not all areas of public order have been covered by this process. In addition, important decision-making in a number of areas was beyond the control of elected politicians. As the Taoiseach said in its recent response to a question from Dail: “What I found wrong with social partnership was that all these meetings were secretly cancelled. After 23 years of social partnership, Irish trade unions (ICTU) have entered the new decade severely weakened and trade union density has dropped to 31% from a 62% peak in the early 1980s that preceded the series of seven corporatist social pacts.  EU penetration is highly unbalanced, with a density of 80% in the public sector and about 20% in the private sector. Today, trade unionists are over 45 years old, married to children, born in Ireland with a university degree and work in semi-professional professions, particularly in the health, education or public administration sectors, as the traditional image of being vulnerable and low-skilled workers.  One worrying aspect is that it has effectively become a new standard for agreements, including lower wage schedules for new entrants. The dispute over The drivers of Transdev V Luas was finally settled recently (Siptu was the Union) and you expected that there would be a provision that new participants must be paid 10% less than those who joined the Union until the agreement.
From 2008 to 2009, during the economic crisis, the FF evisced social partnership and twice reduced public sector wages. The ICTU has tried to mobilize public opinion against the government`s austerity policies. The strategy backfired. All attention has focused on public sector wage growth since 2002, as part of the calibration process. Public distrust of trade unions has increased from 30 to 55%. Unlike the 1987-92 situation, unions were increasingly seen as a public sector interest group that the government charged with defending overpaid public servants and labour market insiders. It seems that there is little appetite to return in itself to a process of social partnership, with all the bells and whistles of the previous process.