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So called “Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill” an attack on fundamental workers’ rights that has to be fought by the trade union movement

category national | workers issues | press release author Wednesday May 29, 2013 17:27author by Joe Higgins Report this post to the editors

Explaining his decision to vote against the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill which Minister Howlin introduced as a big stick for the unions whose memberships reject the Haddington Road sell out Joe Higgins TD said:

“This bill essentially affords the government as an employer an amount of power over certain public sector employees that no other employer enjoys in law. It is a throwback to the days of William Martin Murphy.

“Regardless of the rotten ‘yes’ stand of some union leaders with regard to the Haddington Road Agreement it is a scandal that they and ICTU are either silent on the passing of this oppressive legislation or worse that they use it as a means of scaring their members to voting ‘yes’ to this re-hash of Croke Park 2.

“I support the efforts of the No 2 Croke Park 2 campaign in helping co-ordinate the rank and file opposition to this pay deal and to this draconian bill that has been rushed through the Dáil.

“While the government have the numbers in the Dáil to force this law through the workers’ movement has the numbers and potential to successfully resist the enforcement of these cuts if a determined struggle is waged.

“The rejection of Haddington Road by ASTI, TUI and CPSU executives is welcome. The fact that the leaderships of other unions are recommending acceptance of this deal does not mean that its passing is inevitable as the rejection by SIPTU members of Croke Park 2 shows us.

“The scale of tax evasion by the rich corporations has been laid bare in recent weeks. It’s a scale of evasion that dwarfs the cuts in pay and the property tax combined. A serious struggle by the trade union movement to resist austerity in all its forms and campaign for the proper taxation of unearned wealth would win widespread support. Most of the current trade union leaders are tied to the Labour Party and are therefore objectively in the pro-austerity camp.

“Those trade union members and activists opposing Croke Park and Haddington Road have to continue their campaign beyond these ballots to democratically unseat these leaders and replace them with genuine activists who will draw a line under the succession of retreats we have seen from the trade union movement since the crisis began and make a stand against austerity.

Joe Higgins TD press release

(Posted by Turing.)

author by fredpublication date Thu May 30, 2013 13:26Report this post to the editors

this bill goes after people on over 65,000 euro per annum

Personally I don't feel too sorry that we are taxing these people instead of going after poorer folks yet again.
Does Joe think that people making over 65k are the new poor?

It's the first time the government have gone after the better off instead of the real poor.

I think maybe we should let them on this occasion

Yes by all means close those loopholes and stop paying all our revenue to foreign banks.

But maybe hit those higher earners and their large pensions too?

author by Martin Marjoram - no2crokepark2publication date Thu May 30, 2013 16:20Report this post to the editors

The purpose of this bill is to bully union members into voting yes to Haddington Road. To say that the bill only targets those above $65k thus completely misses the point. To give one example among many, new entrant nurses will be hit by a 15% decrease under Haddington Road. Are new entrant nurses a highly paid elite who can afford to make an extra contribution? I don't think so. This of course is in addition to additional working hours loaded onto an already highly stressed profession. The upshot will be the continued flight of highly qualified nursing graduates to countries where they will be valued, a wonderful return on this country's investment in them. The reason for the INMO's about-face since the Croke Park 2 vote is the appalling nature of this legislation.

If €65k really is a high salary at which an additional contribution is appropriate, then let's apply a fair measure across the whole economy. A less than 1% increase in the effective tax rate for all earners above €65k would generate the €300m the Government says it requires. Only ideological blindness prevents solutions like this, which are transparently fair and do not involve appalling targeting of specific groups.

Besides the unfairness of the Haddington Road measures themselves, in its stubborn resolve to force the "agreement" down people's throats, the Government has passed a bill that inflicts reckless damage to key democratic rights. The manner in which this was rammed through the Dáil in one day and the anti-democratic nature of it should trouble everyone in the country, not just public servants. Ministers will be conferred with the right to alter employment contracts and pay rates by diktat, the right to be represented by a trade union in free collective bargaining is possibly fatally undermined, while special additional punishment is to be meted out to members of unions that defy the Government. Indeed it seems likely that where employees have a choice of unions to represent them, the Government has now legislated for a specific bribe to induce members to leave "NO" unions and join "YES" unions, a remarkable attack on freedom of association, freedom to protest peacefully, and freedom to engage in democratic ballots on industrial relations offers.

I could go on and on, but urge people to read the legislation carefully and the Haddington Road proposals carefully and develop some understanding of what they mean and of the issues at stake.

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Thu May 30, 2013 16:37Report this post to the editors

The elephant in the room is the debt overhang from the (rabid) Celtic Tiger feeding frenzy. Unless there is a concerted effort to write down debt, then how can people accept cuts, as they are still paying hyper-inflated mortgages, based on cocaine-induced property valuations.
Here's the deal: I will take a pay cut-to my modest salary-and pay more tax, if I get 40% knocked off the principal of my mortgage and get good public services.
The Unions got us into this mess as well, by going along with benchmarking, they were part of the orgy of gluttony.
We could ask iApple for a few billions and pay a visit to the noble John Bruton in the IFSC, I'm sure he'd chip in a few billion.
Do not buy into the conventional narrative, PLEASE!!

author by fredpublication date Thu May 30, 2013 18:02Report this post to the editors

the people earning over 65k couldn't give a toss about the rest of us when we were hit with flat taxes that hit the poor disproportionately. I didn't see any of them out on the street. Many people in the private sector just lost their jobs altogether. These people never lose their jobs.

These cossetted high earning civil servants only care about their sweet sweet guaranteed high paid jobs and pensions.

I'm not referring to those hard working frontline staff making circa 30,000 pa.such as nurses, garda and many teachers etc. which constitute up to 50% of the private sector and who have my respect and support.

No, the high paid paper pushers that mire us all in bureaucracy to guarantee their own jobs are the ones that my ire is targetted at.

A 10% cut means they are still making 58,500. My heart bleeds for them.

A 10% cut to a social welfare recipient (188 per week) hits them much more, wheras these fatcats would hardly notice that cut. They are still bringing a fat wage.

 
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