12 February 2009
The economic and financial crisis facing our country is growing and deepening daily and exposing as never before the myths of capitalism. The Government and the political establishment are overseeing the rip-off of €7,000,000,000 from the National Pension Fund to support speculative bankers and developers with the decision yesterday to bail out Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland with public money.
The loss today of more than 1,100 jobs at the aircraft maintenance firm SR Technics at Dublin Airport, a direct result of the privatisation of Aer Lingus and the announcement by Ryanair that it will let 200 workers go, while almost 500 jobs are tottering on the brink at Waterford Glass, are just the latest in a long line of planned closures and redundancies. The strategy of privatising state assets and companies and the over-reliance on transnational corporations are now unravelling. The international venture capitalists are circling, to pick the bones of what is left of Irish industry.
While the Government can find the money to bail out bankers and speculators, the main financial backers of the establishment political parties, nothing can be found for special-needs teachers, for the sick, or to repair run-down schools and hospitals. The attacks on workers’ pay, working conditions and pensions is open class struggle by both the employers and the Government against working people.
We have a financial regulator who slinks away with a golden handshake of €600,000 and a pension of €140,000 per year, which is the equivalent of what four workers and their families on the average industrial wage would live on, while turning a blind eye to massive financial irregularities in the banking industry.
The present situation has all the appearances of a criminal conspiracy among the ruling elite to make working people pay for the deepening crisis. Clearly Fianna Fáil and the political and economic establishment believe that the public purse is their own piggy-bank, for them to dip into as often as they see fit.
The value system underpinning the “Celtic Tiger” has left a society crippled with massive personal and business debt. It has no morality except that of dog eat dog.
It is time for the trade union movement to stand up and defend the interests of working people as vigorously as the Government and the state defend the interests of the bankers and the employers. We cannot allow the National Pension Fund to be frittered away in propping up the bankers and the speculators. This is theft on a scale previously unimaginable.
Irish communists call for full support for the ICTU’s day of action on 21 February and for maximum unity between public and private-sector workers. These attacks on public-service workers are only A pretext for a more sustained attack on all workers in the coming period by both the bosses and the Government. Unity is strength!