Ireland

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and the Fianna Fáil lead coalition have announced a budget that takes €837 out of the economy for every man, woman and child in Ireland. This direct assault on the working class is going to have massive implications for years to come.

“The factory should be nationalised under workers’ control. But that would be too radical a step for any of the parties in Stormont already committed to administering the neoliberal economic policies of the pro-business Brown Government in Westminster.”

The ICTU leaders have deferred the strike action planned for Monday 30 pending the outcome of negotiations. The problem is the government and the bosses have very little room for manoeuvre. The only way to stop the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government and the bosses in their tracks is through militant action.

Union after union has been balloting its members over strike action and the message from the rank and file is clear. SIPTU, the teachers, the nurses, the TEEU are all coming out; in IMPACT, the biggest public sector union 65% voted favour and even in UNITE where there is a big private sector presence the votes are on a knife edge. The conditions are all there to transform March 30 into a full-fledged one-day general strike, if the trade union leaders were prepared to make such a call.

After displaying a high level of militancy and determination, the Waterford workers have ended their occupation after the union leaders brokered a deal with the owners of the company. This is a bitter blow for the workers, but it also highlights the need to struggle within the unions for a fighting leadership.

Sectarianism only serves to divide the working class. When in reality the conditions that Catholic and Protestant workers face mean that they have far more in common with each other than they could ever have with the bosses.

As we know there are indeed 40 shades of green in Ireland, but as the comrades of Labour Youth and the Connolly Youth Movement have explained in their open letter to the Green Party there is another one. The shade of green, that is, which justifies the Green Party’s ongoing support for the Fianna Fáil - which allows the latter to continue to hold a majority in the Dáil.

On February 21 some 200,000 workers and their families took to the streets in Dublin, to demonstrate their opposition to the government's decision to impose a pension levy on 300,000 Public sector workers. Apart from that, the most significant in recent months may have been the occupation of workers by Waterford Crystal.  The class struggle is growing in Ireland and the union leaders are under pressure.

The civil servants’ strike, the first national civil servants strike in twenty years, was rock solid. Now the task for Trade Unionists and Socialists in Ireland must be to build for March 30th; let’s turn it into a one-day general strike!

The ICTU has called for a national strike day on March 30th because the employers in both the public and private sectors are reneging on the national wage agreement. The Irish Trade Union leaders are clearly under enormous pressure and have no doubt also been emboldened by the mood of the workers and the show of force on Saturday.

On Saturday a huge demonstration of 200,000 marched through the streets of Dublin, protesting over unemployment and job cuts. The development of the past period has enormously strengthened the Irish working class and now in the face of crisis it is flexing its muscles.

As the capitalist crisis continues to ravage the once mighty ‘celtic tiger’ the Irish government has stumbled across a sure fire method to stimulate economic growth and raise living standards; cut the wages of the lowest paid workers!

The workers at Waterford Crystal have occupied the factory in response to the threat of making 480 workers redundant. They have the full backing of working people locally. This struggle is an indication of the growing militant mood of Irish workers.