Ireland: resisting pay cuts

Submitted by martin on 15 January, 2009 - 1:22 Author: Sacha Ismail

The last two months of 2008 saw a huge wave of struggles in Ireland, with protests by students, pensioners and teachers against attempts by the Irish government to make the working class pay for budget short falls in the current economic crisis.

Now the government of Taoiseach (prime minister) Brian Cowen, a coalition of his right-wing Fianna Fail party and the Irish Greens, is proposing €20 billion (£18 billion) in spending cuts, and says that a majority will have to come from cuts in public sector pay. There is speculation about pay cuts of five or even 10 percent.

The main opposition party, the equally right-wing Fine Gael, is also backing pay cuts. In fact, it advocated such cuts as a way to prevent the cut backs to the education budget which sparked mass opposition in December, including a 70,000 strong demonstration in Dublin.

The last few months suggest that the Irish working class is in no mood to accept these attacks; and, in fact, it looks as if even the leadership of the unions will resist. Strikes are likely. Watch this space for news of major class struggle.

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