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.
On Saturday 120,000 workers marched through Dublin demanding the the public sector pay cut ('pension levy') be withdrawn, that jobs cuts be opposed and that all the other attacks on the working class be ended. Over the last couple of weeks there have been dozens of local union meetings of workers in the public sector demanding strike action to halt the cuts. The march was a chance not only to put pressure on the government but also to demand that our unions do the only thing that can halt the cuts, call a national strike.
The WSM met up to leaflet the march at 1.30 at the Parnell monument, and then joined the demonstration with a banner demanding a National Strike. Here we present reports, interviews with and photos from WSM members who took part on the demonstration and the leafletting as well as background articles on the nature of the crisis