Public service workers proved in the Croke Park vote that we are capable of getting organised to defeat the careful plans of the government to make us swallow yet another round of cuts. This despite the fact that the leadership of the two biggest public sector unions were working with the government in trying to get us to accept that plan. And now they are in a panic because the No vote to Croke Park represents a massive refusal of their claim that austerity is the solution to the crisis. Almost 300,000 workers have declared that Enough is Enough, add in our immediate families and this is probably quarter of the population.
This doesn't mean the fight is over, the No vote is only the start of defeating austerity. Public Service Workers are not alone, 400,000 households have not registered for the Property Tax. Across society ordinary working people are saying Enough, that is one of strengths. We think we can beat any attempt to unilaterally oppose pay cuts around the points that follow
On Merrion square, an evacuation is in progress. Thousands of people scatter in all directions; panic is etched across their faces. To the casual observer, this is a life or death situation. There is however, no crazed gunman, no volcano, no earthquake nor alien invasion. They are fleeing the catastrophe that is the Irish Congress of Unions (ICTU) bank debt protest.
Vote NO to
It is time for every one of us to take responsibility for trying to turn things around. We have to stop referring to ‘the union’ as something outside of ourselves and begin to see that our unions are OURS. We have to stop seeing ‘head office’ and ‘the officials’ as anything other than employees of the union - our employees who should be taking their instruction from us. And we have to convince our fellow-workers that there is a benefit to engaging with the union structures and organising to resist.
Next year, 2013, will mark the 100th anniversary of what many see as the most significant industrial dispute ever to have taken place in Ireland - the Dublin Lockout. The employers of Dublin, led by William Martin Murphy, locked out over 20,000 workers in an attempt to starve them into submission and to smash the increasingly popular Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU).
The Workers Solidarity Movement position on the trade unions including an anarchist analysis of the unions and what sort of demands anarchists should put forward in the unions. Last modified at WSM National Conference, June 2011.
Late 2008 saw the Irish capitalist class wage a major ideological struggle against the Irish working class. They called for workers to bear the brunt of the capitalist crisis. Print media, TV and radio carried segment after segment where well-paid commentators argued that workers, in particular public sector workers, were earning too much, had overly generous pensions and that the public had unrealistic expectations of public services.
On Tuesday 24th November 2009, 250,000 public sector workers took strike action in opposition to the government policy of public service pay cuts. This was a potentially massive show of defiance and the first time in more than 20 years that the trade union movement had flexed its collective muscle.
On 24 November 2009 250,000 public sector workers in Ireland took part in a national strike against planned pay cuts.
Many WSM members who work in the public sector played a direct part in the organisation of the strike and student members helped organise solidarity actions at the universities where strikes were happening. They also toured other picket lines to send in reports and photos. Here we present these reports and the reports sent in by members on strike who had access to smart phones with which they sent live news on the day to the WSM twitter feed
Working people hit the streets in huge numbers on November 6th. The protests showed, once again, that there is a willingness to resist the government’s attacks on living standards. Most observers put the total number who walked out of work to take part in the eight protests at around 100,000.