“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.