Socialist Worker

Anger in Irish Republic as general strike is called off

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2145

The leadership of the Irish trade unions has called off the general strike that was set for Monday of this week.

The government has introduced austerity measures – including a levy on pensions – that cut into workers' living standards. Meanwhile it bails out the banks.

The unions all balloted to hold a one-day strike. But the union leaders' desire to enter into a national agreement meant they buckled at the last moment.

They have cast aside the votes of thousands of workers.There has been no commitment from the government to withdraw the pension levy.

Yet those at the top of the unions are not getting it all their own way. The anger against the recession led to 120,000 people marching in Dublin last month and piled on enough pressure to get the unions to call the strike.

Some disputes are continuing. Taxi drivers across Ireland struck on Monday. Civil service workers struck last week. And over 3,000 people marched against health cuts in Ennis in the west of Ireland last Saturday.

An indefinite bus strike was halted after bosses agreed not to implement job cuts as talks continued.

Airport workers in Dublin, Cork and Shannon are set to strike on Thursday. Their Siptu union branches said they would go ahead with the strikes, despite their union repudiating the action at a national level.

A number of union branches have passed motions calling for the resignation of the head of the ICTU, the equivalent of the British TUC, after the general strike was called off.

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Tue 31 Mar 2009, 20:31 BST
Issue No. 2145
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