Ireland: Thousands rally against attacks on public sector workers

Overwhelming vote for strike action

Irish language placard reads �tax the rich and leave the poor alone�

In response to the economic crisis, the Irish government has launched a savage assault on living standards. A 10% ‘pension levy’ on all public sector workers, regardless of income, has been announced by the government. In effect, this represents a 10% slashing of wages, to make up for the reckless, neo-liberal policies of the Irish government during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom years, when pensions were gambled on the casino capitalist market.

Strike action agreed

Around 4,000 public sector workers held a lunchtime protest outside the Dáil (Irish parliament) on 18 February to demand that the price of the economic crisis be paid by those responsible – bankers, speculators and bosses – rather than workers. The protest was addressed by speakers including Denis Keane, CPSU (public sector union), a member of the union’s national executive, and Socialist Party member. Since the protest, 83% of lower paid civil servants voted for a one day strike, on Thursday 26 February, in a ballot with a 90% turnout. Earlier this week, Irish bus workers decided to take indefinite strike action against attempted cuts and hundreds of sackings. Irish workers are demonstrating their intention to use their industrial power fight attacks on living standards.

Denis Keane, member of CPSU executive and the Socialist Party

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February 2009