Socialist Worker

Irish marchers demand union action

Issue No. 2230

The anger on the march was not just directed at the banks and the government, but also at the inaction of the unions.

Some of Ireland’s most important union leaders were met with a chorus of boos from demonstrators.

As they spoke of the politicians’ failings, cries of “you’re in bed with them” and “surrender monkey” rang out from thousands in the crowd. Many protesters chanted, “general strike now.”

John, a health worker, was one of the hecklers. “They betrayed us with Croke Park,” he said, referring to the deal struck between the government and union leaders that ushered in austerity measures at the beginning of the year.

“And they are doing so again. We don’t need fairness—we need to stop bailing out the bankers with our money.”

As the thousands of protesters made their way from Wood Quay to the historic Post Office, chants demanding that the unions call a general strike grew ever louder.

However, the leaders of the main unions don’t want to move beyond lobbying and are hoping for an election that will bring more union-friendly Labour MPs.

But the scale of the demonstration, and the anger on it, shows that, despite their passivity, it is possible there will be strikes to stop the attacks.

According to Unite union regional secretary, Jimmy Kelly, Saturday’s march “showed that the people of Ireland are not willing to sit cowering in the corner as their future is sold for buttons by a political leadership intent on bailing out an out-of-control banking system.

“The only hope is to go beyond marches and protests and put strike action firmly in place.”

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.