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24th November public sector strike in Ireland

category ireland / britain | workplace struggles | news report author Tuesday December 01, 2009 21:42author by Andrew - WSMauthor email wsm_ireland at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

On the 24th of November something extraordinary happened in Ireland. Some 250,000 workers acted together in a day-long strike against the public sector wage cuts planned by the government. The vast majority of these workers had never gone on strike before, yet across almost all workplaces the strike involved 90% or more of those working.

Number of strike days each year - the 2009 is just for Thursdays strike, in fact the final figure would include the many small disputes that have gone on this year
Number of strike days each year - the 2009 is just for Thursdays strike, in fact the final figure would include the many small disputes that have gone on this year

This strike took place in the face of hysterical attacks on public sector workers, which included one business commentator suggesting that those going to strike were guilty of High Treason. Conviction for High Treason when Ireland was under the British empire used to involve the person being hung until they had passed out, then being revived so a hole could be cut in their belly and their entrails dragged out before an axeman would cut off their limbs one by one and then, finally, chop off their head. The Class War is clearly escalating from the point of view of the capitalist class!

There is much that can be criticised about the organisation of the strike; after twenty years of social partnership, almost no one in the unions knew how to organise a strike, from the national leadership to the rank and file. This often left those at the base feeling abandoned or trapped in nonsensical decisions. But that is not the interesting story of the day; the interesting story is that despite all the problems, in almost all cases, workers organised themselves at the branch and section level to build effectively for the strike and day-long picket.

The main outcome of the day was that 250,000 workers quite suddenly found themselves thrust into a common identification of workers standing in opposition to local management and the state. All this under a crazed ideological offensive from the capitalist class. Many, perhaps most, had been very apprehensive about going on strike. The actual experience of strike swept away many of those apprehensions and did more in one week to build a confidence and organisation at the base of the unions then had been done in the previous decade.

At the time of writing, between that strike and the potential second one on the 3rd December, it is not clear how the new found militancy will develop. There may be some crappy deal negotiated by ICTU which will defuse the situation until the next time when the government returns for another cut. But the employers are fighting a very aggressive class war, they may not be willing to allow any compromise. In this case, we may already be in the midst of an escalating wave of strikes.

Either way, we have seen a massive demonstration of the potential power of workers when we stand together as workers. That power has been almost invisible in Ireland for two decades but it clearly never went away. That demonstration is what we can build on to fight the crisis and fight for a new world in the months and years ahead.

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For WSM reports from the picket lines of 24th November see http://www.wsm.ie/story/6241

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Issue #3 of the Newsletter of the Tokologo African Anarchist Collective

Ireland / Britain | Workplace struggles | News Report | en

Wed 22 Oct, 12:47

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iwu.jpg imageBelfast rallies in solidarity with massacre against striking miners in South Africa 16:06 Thu 23 Aug by WSM- Belfast 0 comments

Around 50 people attended a lunch time vigil today organised by the Belfast Trade and District Council. A range of political organisations and unions attended including the Independent Workers Union, the WSM and Organise! During the rally one speaker from the council also referred to the police being workers too. This will provide little comfort to working people on the receiving end of state violence and terror. As our comrades from the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front note, ‘The role of the police is to repress and silence the working class and poor. This problem cannot be fixed by commissions or enquiries – as some people think. Ask the family of Andries Tatane. It cannot be changed by elections. Remember: Sharpeville 1960, Soweto 1976, Uitenhague 1985, Michael Makhabane in 2000, SAMWU workers in 2009, Andries Tatane in 2011 … Marikana 2012. At least 25 protestors and strikers were killed from 2000, before Marikana.’

wsm.png image"It is becoming increasingly obvious that austerity is not working” 13:55 Wed 25 Apr by James McBarron 0 comments

With the announcement today by the TEEU and Unite that they are urging a No vote in the forthcoming Fiscal Compact Referendum allied to the fact that Mandate announced a similar position yesterday a clear division is emerging between the leading trade unions. SIPTU has basically offer its support for the treaty in return for a funded job creation plan, this is basically the union leadership buying time before it falls in line with Labour and calls for a yes vote.

lisb.jpg imageBelfast bus drivers take wildcat strike action to re-instate work colleague 15:07 Sun 22 Apr by Sean Matthews 0 comments

Workers direct action- An injury to one is an injury to all Ⓐ

textLive coverage of the N30 strike in northern Ireland 17:22 Wed 30 Nov by various 2 comments

WSM members & supporters in northern Ireland will be providing live coverage of the N30 Pension strikes today via our Twitter feed. The strike is part of the UK wide public sector strike against attacks on public sector pensions, attacks similar to those imposed on public sector workers in southern Ireland over the last couple of years. They are part of a Europe wide offensive against the pensions rights of workers.

ryanairbidforaerlingu007.jpg imageAer Lingus and Ryanair unite in attempt to crush union 22:00 Thu 27 Jan by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

In what is clearly a concerted effort to smash their union organisation, over 170 Aer Lingus cabin crew have been ‘removed from the payroll’ by management in a dispute about rostering arrangements in the Irish airline.

firemen.jpg imageIreland: Firefighters and Ambulance crews desert SIPTU 23:31 Sun 12 Dec by James McBarron 0 comments

Firefighters and ambulance crews are abandoning SIPTU and signing up with the Psychiatric Nurses Association to form a new union.

textPublic Service Work-To-Rule in Ireland 22:40 Sat 13 Mar by Gregor Kerr - Workers Solidarity 114 0 comments

Since the middle of January civil and public servants have engaged in a work-to-rule in an attempt to force a reversal of the pay cuts announced by the government in the December budget. Across the country workers in government offices, colleges, schools, hospitals etc. are taking action, which they hope will result in a change of government policy.

gates.jpg imageProtest outside German Embassy in Solidarity with FAU - Dublin Jan 29th 23:20 Wed 03 Feb by Dermo 0 comments

Members of WSM and Organise gathered on a bright afternoon light of a cold Janaury day, in the leafy surburbs of Booterstown, Dublin, outside the German Embassy to protest recent Berlin District Court Decision to stop the Free Workers Union (FAU - Freie Arbeiterinnen- und Arbeiter-Union) from being able to call itself a Union.

Mass picket of department of Education - see WSM site for more pictures imageReports from the pickets lines of the Nov 24th national strike in Ireland 22:49 Fri 27 Nov by various WSM members 0 comments

On 24 November 2009 250,000 public sector workers in Ireland took part in a national strike against planned pay cuts. Many WSM members who work in the public sector played a direct part in the organisation of the strike and student members helped organise solidarity actions at the universities where strikes were happening. They also toured other picket lines to send in reports and photos. Here we present these reports and the reports sent in by members on strike who had access to smart phones with which they sent live news on the day to the WSM twitter feed

460_0___30_0_0_0_0_0_solidarity.jpg imageTens of thousands of workers in Ireland demonstrate against cuts 19:20 Mon 09 Nov by Andrew & Kevin 0 comments

Tens of thousands of workers marched in Ireland on Friday 6 November as part of union organised demonstrations in nine cities protests against the Irish governments attempts to make workers pay for the crisis. In the region of 20,000 workers march through Cork City centre to oppose Government cuts and the ongoing attacks on wages and conditions. Cork anarchists from the WSM handed out 2000 leaflets at the march. Workers from a wide section of the union movement were present – SIPTU, TEEU, Unite, INO, INTO, ASTI, CWU, IWU, TUI, PNA.

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imageCroke Park proposal shows why we have to take our unions back & organise to win Mar 22 by Andrew Flood 0 comments

We have to ask ourselves how we have found ourselves in unions where the leadership was allowed take such an approach. And we have to work out how we create unions that we control and which will help us organise together to defend our common interests. How has it come to this?

imageVoting NO to Croke Park - what happens next? Mar 20 by Andrew Flood 0 comments

The government says if we Vote no to Croke Park they will impose it anyway. Many of the union leadership try and scare us into voting Yes with this threat and by saying the only alternative is strike action. Both are right. If we just vote no than the government will attack us. And when they do the only way we can win is if we are willing to fight back - that will mean industrial action. It will almost certainly mean at least the credible threat of an indefinite strike.

imageIrish Trade Union Deal: What it is and how to fight it. Mar 03 by Mark Hoskins 0 comments

Irish trade union leadership have agreed an austerity programme for public sector workers. WSM is arguing against this deal. This article gives some of the details and our arguments against this attack on workers. [Italiano] [Français]

imageN30 Strike - Unite against the cuts - Solidarity is Strength Nov 30 by Workers Solidarity Movement 0 comments

Text of a WSM leaflet distributed today in Northern Ireland for the public sector strike.

textThe cost of 'partnership' Sep 21 by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

Many trade union activists have known for years that “social partnership” comes at a huge price for union independence and the ability of trade unions to defend the interest of their members. The myth that government and employers on one side and workers on the other side have some form of common interest has been peddled for over twenty years. This has resulted in a trade union movement whose leadership seems incapable of independent thought and whose membership has been browbeaten into accepting pay cuts, ‘pension levies’ and various attacks on our working conditions and living standards over the past couple of years.

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textWSM welcomes Ireland's public sector strike and calls for further action Nov 27 Workers Solidarity Movement 0 comments

Anarchist organisation Workers Solidarity Movement has congratulated public sector workers who took part in today’s 24-hour work stoppage and called for further stoppages “in order to force a change of direction from the government”.

textSupport the direct action taken by Waterford Glass workers Feb 03 WSM, Cork Branch 1 comments

The Waterford Glass workers have taken a stand. We need to build support and show solidarity ...

imageIWW commence build-up for major assault on NBS bosses Dec 10 IWW 0 comments

The IWW is fighting a major campaign against the centralisation and cuts within England's National Blood service. This release relates the latest phase of the wobbly campaign, which aims to reverse the plans.

textThe Couriers are Revolting! now online Jan 09 0 comments

"The Couriers are Revolting", Des Patchrider's story of the Despatch Industry Workers Union (1989-92) is now available as online reading in the libcom.org library.

textWSM Greetings to Independent Workers Union conference Apr 09 IWU 2 comments

The 3rd conference of the Indepedent Workers Union took place in Dublin this Saturday. The Workers Solidarity Movement extended our solidarity and ongoing support for the work of the IWU.

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