SIPTU delegates attending the union’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Cork have today (Tuesday, 3rd October) backed a call to strongly oppose the forces of the extreme right and to radically reform the EU in a manner which places the interests of citizens at its heart. Addressing the conference in the Cork City Hall, incoming Deputy General Secretary for the Private Sector, Gerry McCormack, said: “We need to call out those on the extreme right that wish to destroy Europe. Let us expose them for what they really are. The new terms used to describe the extreme right such as the ‘Alt Right’, or the populist right are merely new names for the same reactionary and xenophobic forces that destroyed most of Europe in the middle of the last century.”  He added: “As trade unionists we can never allow ourselves to be dictated to by the forces of the extreme right. Rather, we must fight for a new and reformed EU where the social pillar, workers’ rights and the interests of ordinary citizens interests are placed at the heart of its policy decisions.” On the issue Brexit, McCormack, said: “The outcome of the Brexit negotiations should include the retention of free movement for workers and the common travel area, no return to a border with Northern Ireland, state-aid for vulnerable industries and enterprises as well as the retention and improvement of workers’ rights across Ireland. “On the pay front, we are starting to experience some employers using Brexit as an excuse to dampen wage expectations, implement cuts to working conditions and to try and limit pay awards at third party hearings. While we fully accept that there are some companies that have issues with Brexit, particularly relating to exchange rate fluctuations and market place uncertainty, we will not tolerate it being used as an excuse to attack workers.”