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(en) Workers Solidarity #78 - David Begg: Bertie's new p artner

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 19 Nov 2003 12:04:12 +0100 (CET)


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ICTU general secretary David Begg condemned the anti-bin tax campaign.
He did this at the same time that the state was jailing protesters and
refusing to collect rubbish from thousands of households in Dublin.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is supposed to co-ordinate the
efforts of our unions. In reality its officers are pretty far removed from
the lifestyle and living standards of the rest of us. They are much more
likely to be on first name terms with government ministers and top
industrialists than with any ordinary union member.
Begg's disgraceful statement included "Congress does not support the
current anti-bin charges campaign", Well every union - including the
biggest union in the country, SIPTU - that has discussed the bin tax
has voted against it. But maybe democracy doesn't count for much
when you are a self-described 'social partner' of the government and
bosses. "the campaign may ultimately lead to privatisation of bin
collections and a potential loss of jobs". The man can't be so stupid
that he believes this, but maybe he thinks the rest of us are. It is only
when charges can be successfully collected that services become
attractive to profiteering business people. And surely Begg knows
that 41 of the 77 local authorities have already privatised their rubbish
collection. Of course, we never heard him condemning that.

"(Higgins and Daly) are wrong to be leading ordinary working people
into a cul de sac of imprisonment in pursuit of a political objective".
Seemingly our great leader can not believe that ordinary working
people are capable of thinking for ourselves. The tens of thousands of
non-payers are not dupes of anyone.

The Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union put it very
well in their statement "if you fight you don't always win but if you
don't fight you will never win". A lot of people are involved in this
struggle because they think it is important to make a stand.

The bin tax is part of the process which has seen a huge transfer of
wealth from workers to bosses. Figures from the Central Statistics
Office show that in 1987 wages and salaries amounted to 59% of
Gross Domestic Product, while profits and rents taken by capitalists
amounted to 41%.

By 2001 the proportion going to workers had fallen to 46% while
profits and rents rose to 54%. Partnership deals have given us crumbs
while the bosses laughed all the way to their tax dodging offshore
bank accounts. And that's the set-up Begg defends.

The ATGWU went on to say "Mr Begg is a partner of the government
and employers and if that partnership requires him to attack his own
members, abandon his own policies, then that is what he will do. Why
doesn't the executive of the ICTU try a partnership with its own
members and these working class communities?"

Begg finishes his statement with "Congress will seek a meeting with
the Minister for Finance to press the case for a more just and
progressive approach to financing pubic services" Yeah, I bet that has
Martin Cullen quaking in his boots.

Alan MacSimoin
(SIPTU member)

Workplace struggles and the unions http://struggle.ws/wsm/unions.html
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