The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Irish Workers Pay for Bankers’ Greed

Jan 10, 2011

For the third time in three years, Irish workers are facing savage cuts. Increasing the deficit through more bail-outs to Allied Irish, the country’s largest bank, the Irish government now presents the bill to the working class.

On January 1, more than 50,000 of the lowest paid workers in Ireland had $1.30 an hour taken from their pay, for a loss of $10.40 per working day. And all newly hired government workers including teachers and nurses will be paid 10% less than their co-workers, part of the latest austerity plans to solve the economic crisis in Ireland. Income taxes are going up and the national budget is to be slashed, in part by cutting 5,000 workers from the National Health Services.

The past year saw more than 290,000 people listed as unemployed in a working population of about 1,800,000, or 16% according to Irish national statistics. One in three people under 30 cannot find work.

All this misery is part of a deal between the Irish government and the European Union and International Monetary Fund after they agreed to help bail out Ireland’s banks to the tune of more than 80 billion dollars.

Ireland’s boom in property and construction gave developers huge tax breaks, on top of rich profits, as the cost of housing shot through the roof. But when the speculators’ property went bust in 2008, these thieves paid nothing. Instead the Irish population was supposed to pay back the billions of dollars invested by big British, German, U.S. and Swiss banks.

Hundreds of thousands of Irish people have taken to the streets over the past year to protest all the cuts and misery they have suffered, all in order to turn over billions more to the world’s bankers. It’s one way to make their voices heard to a government that only listens to the bankers and bosses.