Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/571/7053
Ireland: Make the rich pay
ON 21 February, 120,000 people marched through Dublin on the biggest workers' demonstration for 30 years. The workers were protesting against the government's imposition of a pensions levy and swingeing cuts in jobs and services to pay for the capitalist crisis.
Stephen Boyd, CWI Ireland
Following on from this huge demonstration, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) executive committee called for all of its affiliates to ballot their members in the South for a one-day national strike on 30 March.
Unfortunately, the 30 March strike call is not a serious attempt by the union leaders to defend the working class. The ICTU decided to only ballot trade unionists that have not been paid the national wage agreement.
Yet, hundreds of thousands are losing their jobs. All trade unionists should be called out on 30 March and the ICTU should also appeal to all workers who are not trade union members to join them.
For 21 years the union leaders, through 'social partnership', assisted the employers and the government in a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich. During all of the years when the property speculators, the construction industry and the corrupt bankers, along with the multinationals, were making hundreds of billions in profits, the union leaders did their best to ensure there was industrial peace.
Faced with unemployment skyrocketing towards 500,000 and €16 billion in public spending cuts, the trade union leaders have raised the white flag of surrender before even engaging in battle.
Yet the message coming from many sections of the working class is that they are prepared to struggle against the impact of the recession.
The strike by 13,000 low-paid civil servants on 26 February and the magnificent occupation by the workers at Waterford Crystal are examples that should be followed.
The militancy that is growing in society is also expressed by the 120,000 who marched on 21 February, in the protests by the taxi drivers for a decent income, the protests by the Gardai [Irish police] against the public sector pension levy and the announcement by Pdforra, the soldiers' organisation, that they would not be used as strike breakers.
Instead of 'social partnership' the unions should adopt an action programme to defend working class people and to make the rich pay for the crisis.
In The Socialist 19 March 2009:
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