The threat from Minister Lenihan yesterday in the Dáil that public sector workers face further cuts in their wages unless public service cutbacks are implemented quicker demands a fighting response from the trade union movement.
The right wing media have turned facts on their head by presenting the Croke Park capitulation by the trade union leadership as some sort of victory for workers when in fact it was a grotesque sell out of hard won conditions which ordinary public sector workers were told to accept in order to avoid further cut backs over the next four years! The Corke Park agreement also wants public sector workers to agree with a serious degradation of the services they provide as a price for avoiding even more savage cuts in their wages which amounts to obnoxious blackmail.
Minister Lenihan conveniently omits to mention that public sector workers like everybody else have been hit by the tax hikes and the new Universal Social Charge both of which are loaded against the lower paid.
Working people in both the public and private sector will be made to realise again in 2011, despite impressions to the contrary of the trade union leaders, that no matter what is taken off them by the employers and government it won’t be enough to take Irish capitalism out of the hole it has dug for itself.
Besides the general election the other task the Socialist Party members have set for themselves this year is the stepping up of our efforts to organise and work with others on the left and genuine trade union activists to remove the replace the current leadership of ICTU with a fighting leadership, worthy of the name which can respond to government and employer threats the likes of which we saw yesterday from the minister.