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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 January 2009

Jobs meltdown hits Ireland

"THIS IS not about a company that's in trouble. This is about greed, corporate greed. They're going to Poland because apparently they can make an extra 3%."

Stephen Boyd, Cork

This comment from a Dell computers' worker hits the nail on the head. And it is not only Dell that is motivated by greed and profit. The cutting of wages and imposition of harsher working conditions by Aer Lingus, Aviance and many other companies is simply using the recession as an excuse to increase their profits at the expense of their employees.

The Department of Finance has predicted that unemployment will rise to 540,000 by the end of 2010, an increase equivalent to 125 Dell announcements. This will have truly horrendous consequences for working class people, and on top of this the government is planning to implement 12 billion in public spending cuts between now and 2011!

Many capitalist governments are desperately trying to stimulate their economies with public expenditure packages. Yet the remedy for the crisis according to the head of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, Turlough O'Sullivan, is that the government should sack 70,000 public sector workers. And finance minster Brian Lenihan thinks the best way to stimulate the economy would be to cut public sector workers' pay by between 5% and 10%!

This is the stark reality of what capitalism has in store for working class people in Ireland - mass unemployment, poverty wages and a devastation of public services like health and education.


The attacks on jobs, wages and conditions must be met with an organised fightback. Working class people should completely reject the arguments from the bosses and the establishment parties that we have to suffer "painful changes" in order to get through the recession. The working class didn't create this crisis, the rich did and they should be made to pay.

Trade unions should demand that companies who are sacking workers and attacking conditions should open their books for scrutiny. We should be able to see where all the bumper profits of the boom years have gone. The hundreds of billions in profits were made from the labour of working class people, this wealth should be used now to maintain jobs, wages and to fund public services.

Fianna Fail has used billions of euros of our money to bail out the super-rich banks. The banks should be nationalised and the billions they are making in profits should be used to fund public services.

Workers should demand that the government steps in and nationalises Dell and Waterford Crystal and that these companies should be democratically run by their highly skilled and experienced workforces so that all of these jobs are saved and the thousands of others threatened in the Waterford and Limerick regions.

David Begg, Irish Congress of Trades Unions general secretary, has warned that the government's plans for the public sector will deepen the recession. He is correct.

The president of the SIPTU union, Jack O'Connor, has said that the government's plans will be met with "stout resistance from trade union members... [we] will do everything possible to mobilise such resistance."

Fine words. Unfortunately for workers facing the dole and wage cuts, we can have no faith in these leaders to oppose the bosses or the government.

Workers in Calcast in Derry and Swissco in Cork occupied their factories and successfully won better redundancy payments. Workers in Waterford Crystal and Dell should occupy their factories, not to win better redundancy payments, but to force the government to step in and save all of their jobs by nationalising these companies.

Capitalism in Ireland has failed spectacularly. We need to fight for a democratic socialist society to put an end to the cycle of boom and bust, poverty and inequality and to provide a decent future for all.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 14 January 2009:

War and occupation

Stop the Israeli state terror

100,000+ on Gaza protests

Socialist Party editorial

British economy heads deeper into crisis

Vote for Robbie Segal

Stop job cuts

Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for your future

Fight for free education

Building ISR and Socialist Students in 2009

Fight for your future: what ISR campaigns for

Socialist Party campaigns

The 2012 Olympics legacy

Heathrow expansion protest

Defend threatened Saudi Arabian trade unionist

Wirral: Marching to stop the cuts

Fast News

Socialist Party feature

The NHS today - can it meet everyone's health needs?

Socialist Party workplace news

Conference: 'The crisis in working class political representation'

GlaxoSmithKline: The fightback starts here

Tube cleaners protest against victimisation

Job cuts announced at Nissan

International socialist news and analysis

Jobs meltdown hits Ireland

Debate and meeting in Dublin

Sri Lanka -: Vicious attacks on media and killing of newspaper editor

Bangladesh: Protesters denounce global mining corporation

Socialist Party review


Socialist Party feature

Why Manchester rejected the congestion charge


Home   |   The Socialist 14 January 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

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