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Recent articles by Mark Hoskins
Recent Articles about Ireland / Britain Economy
The Croke Park extension: What it is and how to fight it
ireland / britain | economy | opinion / analysis Wednesday February 27, 2013 19:12 by Mark Hoskins - WSM
Early yesterday morning, the leadership of the public sector committee of ICTU emerged from talks with the government claiming they had achieved the best possible outcome from the negotiations. The best possible outcome in question involves extra hours at work, cuts in overtime rates and allowances for unsociable hours, delayed increments and revisions to flexitime arrangements and work-sharing patterns.
The Croke Park extension: What it is and how to fight it.
Early yesterday morning [25.02.13 - ed.], the leadership of the public sector committee of ICTU emerged from talks with the government claiming they had achieved the best possible outcome from the negotiations. The best possible outcome in question involves extra hours at work, cuts in overtime rates and allowances for unsociable hours, delayed increments and revisions to flexitime arrangements and work-sharing patterns.
"We are living under extraordinary circumstances and people are suffering extraordinary miseries.” – Jack O’Connor on Today FM’s The Last Word. There’s more misery to come.
Much has been made of the fact that pay cuts will not be levied on those earning less than €65,000. However, an increase of between three and four hours per week at the same rate of pay amounts to a pay cut in real terms as does the delay of increments. As important to many people is the fact that these changes will take away one of the main benefits of a job in the public sector, flexible, “family friendly” working arrangements. Extra hours on the job, for front line staff that are already overstretched and over stressed will have a significant psychological impact and services will deteriorate.
Acceptance of these terms would mean acceptance of decades of indentured servitude. The €1billion euro of “savings” from the public pay bill, much of which will be extracted by making fewer people do more work, represents a direct transfer of wealth from public sector workers to the bondholders. The gains of the labour movement in the 20th century; the five day week, the eight hour day, holiday entitlements and in some cases where it still applies, job security, are all under attack. For now the promise is that pay rates will not be touched, but when this agreement has run its course, there will be nothing else left to give.
The terms of the agreement also have to be looked at within the broader context of austerity. While workers are coming home later from work with the same pay, they will be handing over more of their salaries to the government through the mechanism of the property tax and water charges. The sum total of these measures amounts to economic blitzkrieg as a tactic in the class war. To date this war has been one sided. It is high time we fought back.
We must prepare to strike and we must be prepared to stay out until we have struck a blow so significant that it shakes the foundations of the state. We cannot rely on the union leaders to organise resistance for us. They are not facing attacks on their living conditions. Their careers rely on their ability to find a solution that is acceptable to both bosses and workers. In this case that is not possible so we need to fight for ourselves.
The discussion needs to start now in every work place on how we will conduct industrial action. These discussions can provide the basis for strike committees. We need to argue for the rejection of this agreement and for a participative approach to industrial action. Provisions should be made to prevent scabbing. We should discuss things like refusing to handle the implementation of the property tax and it’s extraction from wages and social welfare. Moreover, we need to take the debate on to the street and win the argument among the general population, to convince other workers that an injury to one, is an injury to all.
Sun 05 Jul, 03:01
Budget 2013 & the dark times to come 21:42 Fri 07 Dec 0 comments
Roughly 1,000 people protested at the Dail (parliament building) in Dublin Wednesday night as yet another austerity budget was debated. As with previous budgets the new flat rate taxes, PRSI & excise hikes will mean workers & those on low income will be hit hard while the richest 1% will hardly notice any difference.
TIME...is on my side! 03:54 Sat 06 Oct 0 comments
That pat on the back to our "glorious leader Enda" in Time Magazine fails to come to terms BIG TIME with the reality on the ground here in Ireland.
1,600 billion - Massive scale of oil giveaway revealed in Shell to Sea report 16:16 Tue 11 Sep 0 comments
€1,600 billion. That is the figure for Irish Oil & Gas reserves already licensed revealed this morning in a detailed report from Shell to Sea using the energy corporations own reports and estimates. People in Ireland will see almost no benefits from this incredible wealth because the Irish state gives these reserves to the corporations at the cheapest terms in the world.
Tories announce new plans to cut housing benefit from under 25s 16:03 Wed 27 Jun 0 comments
David Cameron plans to end housing benefit for claimants aged 16-24. The ‘proposal’ forms part of wider recommendations to begin being implemented next year as part of the new Welfare Act. Further plans being rolled out including linking regional play with regional benefits, breaking the link between benefits and inflation, and considering linking benefits to average earnings and cost of living amounting to a further attack on worker’s rights and conditions.
ECB gives banks 6,250 years worth of Household Tax 23:57 Fri 02 Mar 0 comments
Wednesday the European Central Bank (ECB) gave out 530 billion euros in 3-year term loans to the private banks of the Eurozone. Together with the 490 billion they doled out last December, that's over 1 trillion euros. If pigs could fly and politicians never lied and every household in the country was magically able to pay the hated Household Tax, the total receipt would be 160 million euro. At that rate, it would take 6,250 years to amount to 1 trillion. It would also take 20 years to amount to the 3.2 billion euros the state are handing over to the Anglo bondholders on the 31st March coming.
Dublin demonstrates against ACTA & SOPA but it is about more than just downloading 20:26 Mon 13 Feb 0 comments
Dublin last weekend saw about 400 people take part in a demonstration against the intention of Seán Sherlock, the Labour Party Minister for Research and Innovation to bring into law a requirement for Irish internet service providers to block access to sites that allow the downloading of copy righted material. This is a similar law to the SOPA and ACTA laws that Hollywood & music industry lobbyists tried unsuccessfully to force through the US Congress. A second demonstration is to take place this Saturday.
Half a million take to the streets of London against cuts 21:25 Tue 29 Mar 0 comments
500,000 people marched last Saturday against the coalition government's austerity measures, with the support of the majority of the population.
Clarion hotel in Cork and Davenport in Dublin: Fighting for solidarity the key 20:43 Thu 24 Feb 0 comments
The attack on workers at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin had highlighted the greed and bullying in the hotel business. A similar case to that at the Davenport has come to light here in Cork. But so far fear has ruled the day. The Clarion describes itself as one of “Cork’s premier 4 Star City Centre Hotels”. Although it’s well able to charge for its rooms it cannot find its way to granting its workers a 29 cents per hour pay rise.
1% Walk in Dublin: Video Report 07:49 Sat 16 Oct 0 comments
A political walking tour through the heartland of the Golden Circle in Dublin.
Protests in Ireland as part of European action against crisis 22:40 Thu 30 Sep 0 comments
Despite the escalating costs for the working class of the crisis in Ireland resistance has fallen off ever since the pro partnership leadership of the unions succeeded in getting the Croke park deal passed by the membership. The deal makes vague promises not to impose further pay cuts on the public sector in return for large scale restructuring but was conditional on the economic situation not declining further. Yesterday saw the unions return to the streets with a press call that the left, including the anarchist movement, tried to push into a demonstration. That morning in a rather unusual individual action a man parked a slogan covered cement lorry in the gates of the Dail (parliament building) blocking access. These articles from the WSM site report on these events and include the speech delivered by a WSM member at the protest.more >>
The "Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013", published by the government on Thursday last (23rd May), is a clear attempt to bully public sector workers into voting for the re-hashed terms of the Croke Park II deal emphatically rejected by them just a couple of weeks ago.
650,000 Homes STILL Not Paying Unjust Tax May 24 0 comments
In spite of a long and consistent campaign which has been waged against people in relation to the imposition of this unjust and unfair tax on homes, over 650,000 households have not registered with revenue [22.05.2013]. Draconian legislation and the threats of fines has not resulted in people volunteering their information to the revenue.
Sean Quinn - Cowboy turns desperado - A Western in four parts Aug 02 0 comments
We don’t know a lot about the personal life of this son of a small farmer. He was the richest man in Ireland in 2008 with an estimated wealth of €4.7billion and now he is only out of jail because the Judge wants him to help the Irish Resolution Banking Corporation (IRBC) recover some of the €2.8 billion that he owes them. You may never have heard of IRBC but you will know of it’s previous alias: Anglo Irish Bank,winner of the dodgiest bank award in a state where there is stiff competition for that prize. His son is in prison, (plush Training Unit in Mountjoy) serving a sentence for what the Judge called ‘outrageous’ contempt of court as he sought to put money/assets beyond the reach of the bank. His nephew Peter is supposed to be there for the same reason but has gone missing. All we know about Sean – the daddy of the empire is that he’s big into the GAA and he likes to play poker for a few quid with his friends. Along with his love of poker, I would guess that Sean senior fancies the odd western.
Carve up of Girdwood site in Belfast reflects the sectarian carve-up May 26 0 comments
The sectarian row over the former Girdwood army barracks site in North Belfast is part of a larger picture of sectarianism and segregation forming the bedrock of the status-quo, with our local political class depending on it for their very political survival.
Resisting Austerity - Beyond the Ballot Box May 18 0 comments
On the 31st May, the Irish people will be asked to vote in a referendum on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, commonly known as the Fiscal Compact Treaty. The YES side in the campaign argue that this is necessary in order to maintain stability across the EU, and the NO side argue that this treaty represents an enshrinement and continuation of the austerity we have faced since 2008. However, both sides, either through ignorance, cynicism or malice, portray the limitations of people's agency and power as the ticking of a box on a piece of paper.
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