Them and us

Article from Workers Solidarity 1, 1984 about the recession and the companies & individuals who were making millions

One of Ireland's rich men is Tony O'Reilly. He is worth (depending how the Stock Market is doing you know) about £5m. (excluding his U.S. business interests). O'Rweilly is president and chief exeutive of H.J. Heinz International but also has his fingers in the Irish Independent Group, Fitzwilton and Atlantic Resources. His chief interests appear to be gold, rugby and triple-jobbing.

The economic crisis, the foreign debt and of course the high wages of Irish workers have been having no effect on Irish Businesses. In fact one suspects the recession has avoided them like the plague. JEFFERSON SMURFIT GROUP recently announced interim pre-tax profits of £20m. for six months up to the end of July. Similarly CEMENT-ROADSTONE HOLDINGS had big profits in the same period earning £7.2m.

In the U.K. the gap between rich and poor has become a yawning chasm (take a bow Thatcher, you delivered on the goods). Since 1978 workers in the bottom 10% of the wages league has suffered a real drop in living standards, but the real take home pay for Managers and Directors has leapt by as much as 60%. Last year alone Britain's Executives received pay rises twice the rate of inflation, whereas workers barely managed to break even.

A recent survey of American's 400 wealthiest people showed that there was twelve people who owned at least 1,000m dollars. Top of the list was Mr. Gordon Getty (the oil heir) who was estimated to be worth at least 4.1 billion dollars. Mr. David Packard of the Hewlitt-Packard computer firm was the third richest being worth 1.8 billion dollars. Eighth on the list was Mr, An Wang (who has Irish workers contributing to his personal luxury) of Wang computers who is worth 1.2 billion dollars. Yoko One among others made the list but Michael Jackson didn't. He is after all only worth 70 million dollars.

The other side of the coin is just as dramatic: the U.S. Census Bureau announced last month that 35.2 million Americans were officially living below the poverty l;ine plast year. This represents 15.2% of the population and is the highest figure since the mid-sixties.

Thanks to Mark Harrison of Hands Off The People Of Iran who transcribed the article for us from the PDF file of Workers Solidartiy No1