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"You Have To Stand Up and Fight!"

category cork | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Tuesday November 24, 2009 12:56author by Cork WSM - Workers Solidarity Movementauthor email corkwsm at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Reports from Cork from the General Stike

Strikes took off across Cork city and county this morning as workers took direct action to stop the Government's attack on wages and conditions.
School Of Music Shut Down
School Of Music Shut Down

Despite desperate wind and rain, pickets were out early and in force this morning across Cork city and county. Workers were striking back against the Government and its cosy plan to make workers pay for the crisis the Government and the bosses have have dropped the country in. Reports indicate widespread support and effective picket right across the public service. In some areas due to the flooding crisis that has enveloped part of the county, pickets has not taken place in order to assist with the alleviation of hardship – particularly to the elderly, the sick and those with young families.

We have the following reports:

Cork Tax Office on Assumption Road, Blackpool was closed this morning by a large group of about 30 picketers.

From Nagle Community College in Mahon. “The strong wind and occasion splashes of rain didn't deter the picketers on duty here. The gates were adorned with placards from SIPTU, IMPACT and the TUI. I was told here that this strike was putting down a marker that the government couldn't keep coming back and taking more and more from these workers. "You have to stand up and fight or they'll be back again and again." The picket I talked to felt it was hard to see a way out of the current impasse.

The Cork School Of Music was closed by pickets from the TUI and Impact – see photo.

Cork College Of Commerce was also closed by large force of picketers – see photo also.

We have this report from the Central Statistics Office in Mahon. “A large picket of perhaps fifty people from CPSU, IMPACT and SIPTU was in place outside the gates. The large CSO building eerily quiet. It was a bit easier to ward off the weather in this big crowd. Talking to Don Dean, I was told that people just wanted fairness. He gave the example of Pat Kenny’s' (the RTE radio presenter) massive salary. "If Pat Kenny was laid off 60 workers could have a E10,000 wage increase, that kind of division is madness". Don lives with his wife and three kids on the Northside and has no water for a few days now. He pointed out how everyone was pulling together and looking after one another in a natural outpouring of solidarity after the massive flooding. “Contrasting that with how the country is run. It’s not private versus public sector, that’s just the usual divide and conquer stuff, it’s rich versus poor." Other workers at this big picket were of a similar opinion. Don felt that things will escalate and that the Trade Union leaders "Could do a lot better". What is needed is to spell it out to people that this is a battle between the wealthy and the rest of us - full stop! "This is about my kids’ future, the sort of country they'll grow up in.” He added finally that he had told the reporter from Red FM Radio this morning that as a worker he would be financially better off on the dole, but that he wanted to work, wanted to make a contribution, but wanted fairness too.

Related Link:

Unite And Fight
Unite And Fight

Pickets at College Of Commerce
Pickets at College Of Commerce

author by jopublication date Thu Nov 26, 2009 03:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's working conditions, and historically the workers state becomes this way, so striking is all in fight back which shows majority control that will eventually end the exploitation that aggressive war, pollution, unemployment, poverty and gender discrimination of the monopoly capitalist system constantly throws at us as the best society ever. Workers of the world, unite!! Unity is strength...

author by Alan Davis - International Bolshevik Tendencypublication date Wed Nov 25, 2009 07:17author email alan at bolshevik dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

On Monday at the "Town Hall" meeting in Cork ICTU's five key demands to the government were outlined - one of these is supposedly "Stop Cuts to People's Incomes". But the very next day in a press release about the actual basis for going into the talks Peter McLoone said "it would be necessary to agree some temporary measures to cut payroll costs in 2010 because reforms were unlikely to deliver the necessary savings before 2011." (see link)

I heard him interviewed on the radio as I went home from picket line duty and he was saying that what they were opposed to was cuts in core salary scales - but other issues like overtime, allowances and working hours were all issues they could negotiate around.

A pay cut is still a pay cut no matter how you package it.

Oppose the sell-out by the trade union leaders!

Related Link:
author by private sector workerpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 20:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And I for one, and most of my work mates are 100% behind the strike, half of us have been laid off by our very wealthy boss already. The time to take on the wealthy 'realists' of this world is now. Victory to all workers.

author by Cork WSMpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 17:47author email corkwsm at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interview by WSM from the CPSU picket line on Washington St, Cork. There were about 15 people on the picket despite the rain. More had been there earlier. The picket line was organised on a shift basis. I spoke to two CPSU members.

Q: Why are you here today?
A: The Government is coming after low paid workers again, despite having already imposed a 7 1/2 % pay cut on us, on top of the pension levy. I am already on Family Income Supplement to bring my wage up to a minimum standard of living – so that tells you. I am angry. The government is bailing out bankers, but we are struggling with all sorts of loans. We are struggling to feed and clothe ourselves and our children.

Q: What has the support been like?
A: It is good. The level of support from ordinary people is there despite the hostility in the media. Hostility from the likes of Pat Kenny, Eddie Hobbs, Neil Prendeville and Matt Cooper – with their big plush salaries. I am paid just €458 a week. The rich politicians are making a big deal out of taking cuts of 10 or 15%. But 15% of 300,000, still left them with 255,000. As well as €63 a day just in expenses!

Q: Anything else to say?
A: The information coming to light recently on Morning Ireland from the Central Statistics Office showed that private sector pay cuts had been exaggerated. They are trying to intimidate us.
Q: And what’s your situation? Why are you here?
A: My wages are also topped up by Family Income Supplement of €110 a week to bring me up to a minimum standard of living. So that’s the situation. I also had one child attending pre-school 4 afternoons a week until recently. But I've had to cut that back to 1 afternoon due to recent cuts. Bear in mind that early childcare benefit has gone and has been replaced with a system which means applying to your pre-school for funding. But the pre-school attended by my child isn't taking part in the new scheme. Actually all the pre-schools which are taking part in it are full. So that is how you get caught.

Ambulance Drivers at HSE, Cork
Ambulance Drivers at HSE, Cork

Pickets at Cork Social Welfare
Pickets at Cork Social Welfare

author by Cork WSMpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 17:07author email corkwsm at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

In Kinsale the Further Education College (FEC) and the secondary school were picketed for several hours this morning. I was unplesantly surprised to find out that the social welfare office is privatised and so was running as normal today.

In the FEC the principal told me how curricular choice has been limited and the student-teacher ratio has risen due to the cutbacks. He also said “there is a view taken in government that it is okay to attack public service pay - the pay and conditions of teachers in particular... This is a statement by the workers that this is completely and totally unacceptable to us”

"This is a statement..." - FEC, Kinsale
"This is a statement..." - FEC, Kinsale

author by Realistpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Yes,yes realist a man after my own heart."

Instead of engaging in argument you resort to ab hominems which is pitiful since you know nothing about my heart.

"We must give billions to the banks"

I would prefer if we did not have to. The bankers gave away cheap credit to people who were in no position to pay it back and suprise suprise the entire facade came crashing down.

Unfortunately many people who were responsible, who were in a position to pay and took out loans, who own businesses, who employ people and generate tax revenue that pay the wages of public servants, who have profitable enterprises or people with homes and mortgages and have a good credit rating are in danger of losing their businesses and their homes because of the collapse of financial institutions that operated what was essentially pyramid schemes. If those institutions are allowed to collapse the economy will go into free fall and entirely many blameless people, through no fault of their own, who behaved responsibly, will suffer.

When the banks fail, taking out a loan to start a business, even to operate a business or to finance the purchase of a house or a car will become next to impossible.

If you are in favour of national economic suicide you should just say it.

"maintain pensions to the ex ministers"

Did I say I was opposed to cutting pensions? Where are you coming from? I am in favour of slashing the pensions of ex ministers. I believe they are too generous and besides in hard times they should take a cut along with everyone else.

"pay bankers 500,000 a year"

Again did I say I was in favour of the inflated salaries of bankers? Where did you get that idea?

"give our gas and oil to the oil companies for free."

Again where did you get that idea????

"We must protect wealth and not allow the common herd to get their hands on it."

What are you talking about? I do not believe in protecting the wealth of anyone. I believe that we should be encouraging ordinary people with ideas and get up and go to start their own businesses.

"We have to maintain a system that concentrates wealth in the hands of the few and if this means welfare cuts, wage cuts, job losses etc. then so be it."

What is this system you are talking about? Over the past 20 to 15 years Ireland has experience wealth creation across all classes. Hundreds of thousands were lifted out of poverty and found employment and many of thousands of people started their own businesses and became wealthy through hard work.

It is simple mathematics that when economic productivity has fallen that tax revenue also falls and that public spending cannot be maintained without borrowing.

If Ireland builds up a mountain of debt that must be serviced by dwindling tax revenues from an economy already struggling to thread water during a recession it is like telling a drowning man to grab hold of a concrete block.

If we continue public spending and borrowing at the current rates we face economic disaster with businesses going to the wall, much higher levels of unemployment and damaging our chances of recovering for years.

"This idea that any of us who have profitted out of this society should be asked to give up some of our wealth is obnoxious"

I believe that taxes for higher earners were far too low during the boom years because they had an ability to pay without a damaging effect on the economy and I believe that higher earners are still not paying their share. I believe that if you are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland regardless of where you live you are obliged to pay your share to the Irish state.
Investors and business people who do operate in Ireland and pay taxes also create large revenues for the government by operating profit making businesses which employ thousands of ordinary workers.
When the taxes they must pay remove their profits and curtail their ability to reinvest their profits the incentive to operate in Ireland is removed and wealth inevitably would migrate from our shores.
A bottomless reserve of money does not exist in the Irish economy.

"and would be dangerous for it might give people in other countries the same idea and then where would we be our whole social structure the things that make this country a great place to live for me and my friends would be under threat."

If you are implying that we should maintain government spending and borrowing at current levels and introduce ruinous levels of taxes to support a public sector that appears to believe it is immune to the fortunes of the market place then Ireland will not be a great place to live and our best and brightest workers and business people will leave this country en masse.

"No,no its the working class that must pay that is their place."

Are you saying that business people and business owners and employers and middle class people who are highly skilled, highly educated and were highly paid who have lost their businesses, have lost their jobs and are also on social welfare have not paid a price already? Are you saying they are not a working class?

None of anything you have said in your previous comment was anything more than strawman attacks, economic illiterate ranting and special pleading.

If you have no rational arguments to make then you are not part of the solution. You are part of the problem.

author by jjpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

ever wonder how all these expert economists come up with ideas on what to cut and never suggest cuts that would effect their own business or fall on their doorsteps!! Fact!

Mc Carthy for example, no cut in the number of government advisors such as himself or lecturers in the college he teaches. The whole thing stinks.

By the way, every irish bank employee got a pay rise this year, and will get paid their bonuses.

Now ask yourself is it no wonder that the public sector are fed up!

author by Fat Catpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 16:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes,yes realist a man after my own heart.

We must give billions to the banks, maintain pensions to the ex ministers, pay bankers 500,000 a year, give our gas and oil to the oil companies for free. We must protect wealth and not allow the common herd to get their hands on it. We have to maintain a system that concentrates wealth in the hands of the few and if this means welfare cuts, wage cuts, job losses etc. then so be it.

This idea that any of us who have profitted out of this society should be asked to give up some of our wealth is obnoxious and would be dangerous for it might give people in other countries the same idea and then where would we be our whole social structure the things that make this country a great place to live for me and my friends would be under threat.

No,no its the working class that must pay that is their place.

author by Eamonn O'Coilea'in - Republic of Irelandpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 15:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On Sunday, Nov 22, 09, in a community hall in Erris, The local residents heard the factual stories and the way the Governmet of Bolivian delt with the problems that had happened to them. Protest after protest and finally Brutal killings of the men. women and mostly children who were killed by a right wing group that consited of Military, police, wealthy land oners and people who put money before their own health and well being. One day in 2008, 25 were killed and 105 missing, many, many more were injuried, The newly established Government who had recently taken back their Natural resources from the oil an gas companies and concerns ( who by the way were responsibly for the atacks on the protesters ) were finally brought to court after 5000 people marched on the local parlliment building to get justice. But as it happens they were found not responsible for all the killings, so the local people apposed this dession and have maned the jail where the men that were responsible for the killings, and kept them in the prision by round the clock watchers and relatives of the protesters that were killed. We all watched the vidios and the men in jail were giving orders to shoot. It was very disstressing listerning to these stories and vidios. There were then questions to asked and Cristian Dominquez and Jos'e told us what has happened since the return of their Natural resources. That all the people in Bolivia recieve funds for health and education just to mention a few and that the Bolivian Natural Resources and Environment Offical have put in place. He also stated that in December of this year there will be a vote that the whole country will take part in. It goes as following if it passes the people of Bolivia will get 92 per cent of their oil and gas profits and the oil an gas companies will just recieve just 8 %. NOW why can't the Irish people get together and do something that gives the people of Ireland something that is rightfully theirs instead of cuts an more cuts It's really time to asked our Government that was elected to make these changes. It's also time that this nightmare stops ! There is untold Billions worth of gas an oil out in IRISH waters that should belong to the people. So lets put pressure of the Irish Gov. to solve this problem and and do it safe.
Lets put 345 Bar pressure on them and have a massive protest the week of the budget.

author by Realistpublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 14:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

These strikes are the equivalent of a child throwing a tantrum when its parents tell them that they simply can't afford something.

The government, employers, unions, public and private workers all know that the country cannot continue to borrow or spend at the current rates without bankrupting the country.

It is utter delusion, blind idiocy and bovine stupidity to imagine otherwise.There are no other alternatives.These strikes are nothing less than egotistical posturing of the most absurd and grotesque scale.

While businesses and employers across all sectors going to the wall or barely clinging to life, private sector workers who are lucky to hold onto their jobs have taken pay cuts, have seen their incomes evaporate and have been forced to accept tax increases while legions of newly unemployed face Christmas without their bonuses, with jobseekers allowances, child benefit and much more about to be slashed, it is total lunacy to believe that public sector pay can be maintained at current levels, that there cannot be reductions in public sector employee numbers and that services cannot be targetted for cuts.

The economy must be allowed to recover, the government finances must return to equilibrium and we all are going to take a bite of a giant sh*t sandwich.

No matter who is in powerin any future government - Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Fein, Socialists etc etc - all their hands are tied.

Our country must pull out of recession and the course of action that will garantee this does not happen is to continue blindly down the current road to ruin.

If you want to kill the economy, kill business and kill employment for years to come, you can have it.

You will be in no position to throw tantrums when the IMF removes the control of the purse strings from the government and wields that axe.

The public sector must grow up, get real and take your their medecine like everyone else.

author by Jamespublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 14:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RTE, Newstalk etc have layed into public sector workers bringing on anti worker reps from ISME , IBEC etc. and giving vent to every crank in the country to attack the workers on strike.

Meanwhile billions of euro are gifted to the gangster banks and criminal developers as the media concensus bays there is no alternative.

Lets just face it folks we just can't afford it, capitalism that is.

Don't buy the capitalist papers, don't pay the TV licence, question authority, join the union.

author by lulupublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a start! Fair play to them all for taking industrial action (industrial inaction?) in an effort to raise awareness.

author by Tonypublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 13:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A one day strike or a march is hardly a fight though.

And tonight on the news there'll be people declaring that they've had enough and they'll come out again come rain or come shine. And they'll do all that it takes etc etc.

And tomorrow they'll be back at work and remain unorganised to be of any effect.

And the government just ignore any strike or demo or protest that isn't effective.

That the workers and the poor have to pay for the recession, while the wealthy remain unbothered having benefited so much from the Celtic Tiger, is a disgrace. And none put it better than the Workers Solidarity Movement.

But still the people of Ireland lie down, whinging and moaning to no effect.

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