Low Paid under renewed threat after 1st Quarter Review

“The IMF/EU/ECB review of Ireland’s compliance with the “bailout” terms agreed last year by the discredited FF / Green government poses a renewed threat to the low paid”. This was the reaction of Workers Party president, Michael Finnegan, after the government and IMF lunchtime news conferences.

“It is clear” continued Mr Finnegan “that the much hyped reversal of the cut to the minimum wage is but a velvet glove to hide a dagger. That dagger is pointed very directly at the 300,000 low paid workers in catering, cleaning, and maintenance. Their wages barely exceed starvation levels and their hours and conditions are amongst the worst in the entire country. The REAs and JLCs are a vital protection for these workers who, very often, are not in a position to defend their rights”.


“We must repeat again and again that low wage workers did not cause the present economic crisis. This was caused by the naked greed of bankers, speculators, and other get-rich-quick merchants who gambled the future of their employees, and ultimately the fate of the country so that they could achieve even more obscene levels of personal wealth. At this time we would do well to ask how many low paid workers have been able to flee to luxury hotels and second homes in Switzerland, Monaco, or the US. If the cabinet or the EU/IMF want to seriously tackle problems in the labour market then they could start with restrictions in the legal profession, restrictions on entry to the medical profession; the robbery of the state by self proclaimed experts and outsourcing; and the state of ransom in which criminally overpaid medical consultants hold an underfunded health service.”


“Likewise we must repeat that low and middle ranking public servants did not cause the present crisis. Yet they have been deliberately demonised by all government parties and the media. It is clear that there is a political agenda of privatisation at work here, and it is deplorable that some of the most virulent attacks on the public sector are now coming from the Labour Party cabinet ministers.”


“This government is clearly intent on attacking the public sector and launching another vicious wage cut on that sector. It is obvious that the government does not want the Croke Park Agreement to work and they are doing all that they can to ensure that it does not work. Their gunboat diplomacy over the airways and in the Dáil chamber, allied to the deliberate delaying tactics by senior management in engaging in meaningful debate on reform is a deliberate attempt to make the unions walk away from Croke Park. It is the task of the Trade Union movement to expose and oppose these tactics”.


“It is once again time for workers to unite across all sectors against the savagery being imposed on them because of the catastrophic failures of Irish capitalism. It is time for the trade union movement to realise that even after only five weeks in office the Labour Party has firmly anchored itself to the wishes of the IMF/EU rather than to the needs of the Irish people and Irish workers. Therefore we call on all workers to show their unity and solidarity by turning out in their thousands on May Day, International Labour Day, and to lay down a marker for the government and for the international money lenders leading this country to destitution”.


Issued: Friday 15th April 2011.

Peace, Work, Democracy, and Class Politics