The time to act is now!

Ciarán Murray is a member of the CPSU and a former student activist in UCD.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan recently boasted that his European colleagues were ‘amazed’ at the amount of pain he was able to inflict on Irish workers and said that, were there attempts to inflict cuts such as the pension levy on French workers, riots would cripple the country.

This display of contempt for Irish workers is an insight into the minds of those in power in this country; that they have no qualms about, and indeed intend continuing their “slash and burn” cuts in order to finance blunders by banks and big business.

The time has long passed that Irish workers stood up for themselves and showed Brian Lenihan and his cronies (for that is what they are) that we are not willing to allow them to make ordinary Irish workers pay for their blunders which led to the current financial crisis.

Yet, given a time when the government are persistent in their attack on the vulnerable and low paid, when given the opportunity to show their real strength, Irelands public sector Unions have spectacularly (yet perhaps unsurprisingly) failed to act.

Impact, the largest Union of workers in the public sector, held back ballot papers from swathes of their members, who were to be balloted on joining the National Strike on March 30th, disenfranchising and disempowering thousands of workers in the process. 

Also, a ballot showing a 65% yes majority for strike action (more than enough to pass strike action in any other democratic union) was deemed to be not adequate enough for Impacts leadership. The two largest representatives of tens of thousands of Public Service workers have just been hit with an unjust pay-cut and what do ICTU do in response? “Dramatically” quit talks and then use workers and the threat of a one day National Strike as bait to go back into them, ignoring the mandate of thousands of its members who were willing to sacrifice a days pay to stand up to the thugs and bullies in government.

Union leaders have shown themselves to be afraid of rhetoric of strong and direct action against the cutbacks for fear of upsetting their cosy relationship with the government. This leaves us, the grassroots workers with a new challenge.

Unions have been rendered all but impotent through partnership agreements, benchmarking and pay deals (in effect giving the union the breadcrumbs from the table to keep them quiet, to disperse and alienate the workforce in order to prevent militant union organisation and retaliation.) It is up to us to stand up in the face of these challenges; we must put thought into action and seek to build a new strong campaign to protect workers rights.

We must work to generate wider solidarity for workers in struggle, urging the formation of networks which bring together activist workers with the aim of discussing, formulating and implementing strategies that will help us to win these struggles.

We must stand up and show that we will not be scapegoated by the Government and their bed-pals in IBEC for their failings. We must get up, stand up and show the time to act is now!

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One Response to “The time to act is now!”

  1. Nick Says:

    Now is not the time to take action of the type mentioned above, since it would result in the destruction of the Irish economy for decades, and as is well known when a country is in a serious depression the “grassroots” of the people that is to say the masses will pay the price, and given he size of Ireland (as compared with France) action of the nature proposed in the above blog will result in an economical disaster for Ireland, the result for the “grassroots” people would be poverty and emigration.

    What is needed at the moment is support all the efforts of the government to resolve the crisis, the details of which were recommended by professional economists and other outside experts.

    When the crisis comes to an end say in 2011, then that would be the time to deal with matters regarding the power of the Irish Elite, (the so called golden circle) so that the ordinary people have more say in matters re: the running of the country, but only then, and not now.

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