The party-union link

“What is remarkable about the party-union link is how much it has been underestimated by social democrats themselves. The ‘golden age’ was made possible by many different components, but one of them was certainly successful party-union links: these were instrumental in forging governmental coalitions that enhanced women’s rights, gave employees a say in the workplace and secured safe work conditions for employees. Even today, and despite all the changes that the link has gone through, unions continue to form the backbone of the progressive movement in a number of countries.” - Dimitris Tsarouhas of Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.

Unfortunately, Maltese trade-unionism is in shambles. The two major unions, GWU and UHM, are undoubtedly linked to the two major political parties but not for the right reasons.The links that exist today seem to be based on the premise: "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" which is a major blow to a unions' credibility. This is not to say that the GWU and UHM do not serve the interests of their members. But the partisan link, at times, transcends the political one - the one that truly matters most. In this way partisan submission triumphs over workers' collective interests.

If we want a progressive society in our country the above unions as well as the political parties themselves need to reassess their strategic links and forge alliances based on improving workers' rights not on partisan back-scratching.

Similarly, these strategic links have also taken hold in KSU where partisan interests triumph over student rights. And there I was, thinking that my generation knew better. (Yes, I'm pointing my fingers at SDM).

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