That's Capitalism: Workers Solidarity #54 1998


'Social partnership' gets better and better. In 1987 the lowest paid tenth of the workforce paid 3.14% of their earnings in direct taxation. By 1995 this had risen to 11%.1


In Dublin, Mexican ex-president Carlos Salinas was quizzed by French officials over drugs money linked to his brother, but an Irish judge ordered a media blackout on the case - which was obeyed by all the papers.2


A lawsuit against Ford motors in the US is looking for compensation for slave labourers used by Ford in Nazi Germany, allegedly with the knowledge of US executives. Ford admits the German subsidiary used tens of thousands of slaves but says the US company lost control over the German subsidiary. Henry Ford admired Hitler, accepted a Nazi award and sent Hitler presents on his birthday.3


In March TDs voted themselves a load of extra unvouched 'expenses' and another 3% to bring their basic pay to £36,015, Ministers got an extra 18% to bring their basic to £83,948. There are the same politicians who would not legislate for a mere £5.00 an hour minimum wage. What was the response of SIPTU president Jimmy Somers to this blatant hypocrisy? "If you look at TDs' basic salary, they are not being overpaid" said Somers (who earns a massive £59,812 plus up to £30,000 'expenses' but whose members include Southern Health Board home helps on as little as £1.70 an hour).4


The latest accounts for IBEC, the employers' body which campaigned against the minimum wage, show that they pay their own officials an average of £38,000. IBEC have spent years moaning that public sector wages - which average £26,000 when senior professionals, executives and managers are included - is too high. The next time some overfed bosses' stooge is on TV complaining that £4.40 an hour is too much, will the interviewer ask how much the IBEC spokesperson earns? Don't hold your breath.5


Those who expect TDs to take action against rocketing house prices and land speculation should note that politicians are among the parasites benefiting from the unreal house prices and rents being charged. Minister Dermot Ahern has an interest in five rented properties. Sean Ardagh has leased four houses and a shop/office unit. Seamus Brennan has a house to rent in wealthy Booterstown. Deirdre Clune describes herself in the Dáil Register of Interests as a "landlord".

Sean Doherty has three properties in Dublin, a house in Sligo, three in Boyle and six land development sites. Jim Mitchell is letting a house in Inchicore. Noel O'Flynn has a slice of Cork for industrial development, and commercial and residential properties in Dublin. Jim O'Keeffe has lettings, forests and development sites in West Cork. Alan Shatter rents out eight Dublin properties. Dick Spring has a half share in 52 acres of forest.6


1 Irish Times 25/3/98,
2 Pobal an Dulra 25/3/98,
3 Pobal an Dulra 25/3/98,
4 Evening Herald 26/3/98,
5 Sunday Tribune 19/4/98,
6 Sunday Independent 26/4/98

From Partnership 2000 to Parasite £2 million

£2 million a year. That's what each of six directors of the Jefferson Smurfit Group got last year in salary, incentives, bonuses and pension contributions. Not £2 million between them, £2 million each.

The six are four Smurfit family members (Dermot, Michael, Tony and Alan), finance director Ray Curran and chief operations officer Paddy Wright.

This was a 35% increase on what they got last year. The workers who created all this wealth just got the miserly increases allowed under Partnership 2000.

This article is from Workers Solidarity No 54 published in June 1998