The Labour Party Outline Policy: Workers' Democracy
Organisation: Labour
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

19th March 2018

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This document joins others in the Archive from the Labour Party during this period which outline that party’s policies on various issues. Published in 1969 it offers a clear insight into the thinking of the ILP during this period.

The introduction notes:

This policy is a statement of progress towards socialism. It will be quite clear that its proposals envisage a real change in society.

It argues:

There is a great deal of current conclusion in relation to the meaning of ‘industrial democracy’ – for many it means little more than an improved system of industrial relations. In this document worker democracy is defined as a full participation by the workers in all decisions involving the utilisation of the resources employed by an enterprise or organisation. The proposals made here concentrate on the long rather than the short term because Labour is intent on changing irish society, not just shoring up an imperfect and unjust one.

And continues:

The main argument for participation in decision making is not economic, in that it would lead to a more stable system of industrial relations. Far more important is its ethical or philosophical significance in applying the democratic principle to work.

In terms of recommendations it argues for:

The LP believes that statutory provision must be made to secure for all those engaged in economic life effective participation in all levels of decision-making.

And it states that both Civil Service, Local Authorities and Semi-State bodies should restructure ‘to introduce real worker democracy’. And that this should also be introduced ‘for those engaged in private and joint stock undertakings’.

Tellingly though the document does say that such arrangements will only introduced ‘where the numbers engaged make the application of the provisions meaningful’.

In various sections it addresses The Pattern of the Irish Economy and The Private Sector amongst other issues.

It does note in conclusion that ‘Since political decisions, as well as economic decisions, play a central part in the use of national resources it will require a socialist government to give effect to the principle of worker democracy’.

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