Reject ISME / SFA demands for wage freeze



Workers Solidarity Movement,
23rd July 2008The WSM, an Irish anarchist organisation, today called for an end to threats by the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association to cut the wages paid to the lowest paid workers in Ireland. Spokesperson for the WSM, Anthony Geoghegan, says that “The recent demands from the employer’s organisation for wage freezes and cuts in the minimum wage demonstrate clearly the conflicting interest of the so-called ‘social partners’ as another round of partnership talks get underway”.

“Employers, having benefited most from the boom years, now aim to maintain their profits through the downturn by forcing those who benefited least, their workers, to bear the cost. Employer’s group have now learned to use the language of ‘partnership’ to threaten workers with the spectre of the 1980s if they refuse to accept cuts in their standard of living. Those minimum-wage workers, often young or foreign, who benefited least from the good years, are also the first and easiest target in harder times.”

ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding recently called on public sector unions to ‘sell restraint to their members’, urging them to 'show some solidarity' with their colleagues in the private sector. Geoghegan says “ISME itself will, of course, never be found ‘selling restraint’ to its own members. Its members will never themselves demonstrate the solidarity it is now preaching to workers. ISME’s version of solidarity is a means by which workers would join together to voluntarily reduce their own living standards in order to protect their employer’s profit margins.”

'The stark reality is pay freeze or jobs', according to ISME. The WSM’s spokesperson continues “Workers need not accept ISME’s definition of reality as a choice between falling living standards and a life on state benefits. ISME may attempt to single-handedly redefine the word ‘Solidarity’, but fortunately it has no monopoly on reality.”

“Anarchists believe that the interests of employers and employees are fundamentally in conflict. The Celtic Tiger years may have allowed those cracks to be papered over but now, as bust predictably follows the boom, another generation of workers are discovering that class is not dead.”


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The Workers Solidarity Movement is an anarchist organisation in Ireland set up in 1984. WSM publishes the paper Workers Solidarity and the magazine Red and Black Revolution.

The WSM has been involved in a wide range of struggles in Ireland: its members are involved in Irish trade unions; have fought for abortion rights and against the perceived growth of racism in Ireland and have also been involved in campaigns in support of workers from countries as far apart as Nepal, Peru, Mexico and South Africa.

In recent years the better known struggles the WSM were involved in included the 2003 March 1st action against US war planes in Shannon, the 2003 Anti-Bin Tax Campaign in Dublin and the 2004 EU Mayday protests also in Dublin as well as campaigning against the citizenship referendum in 2004.

WSM members are currently involved in the Shell to Sea campaign. They are also involved in the Cork Autonomous Zone, Seomra Spraoi, the Terence Wheelock Campaign,Indymedia Ireland, the Independent Workers Union of Ireland, Anti-War Ireland and the anti-Raytheon campaign in Derry. Although the WSM Autumn 2005 conference prioritised the IWU they also have members in SIPTU, CWU, TUI, IMPACT, CPSU and the INTO.