Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The general secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland, Eugene McCartan, warns of the class interests behind calls by representatives of business for a national pay agreement.

“We have to ask ourselves why all of a sudden are the bosses are talking about a new national agreement on pay and income. What do they want out of this?

It’s clear that they are concerned about growing militancy by workers when it comes to pay claims. A number of pay increases have been won by unions in recent months, and this is obviously having a positive, mobilising effect on workers more generally.

The recent call by the head of IBEC, Danny McCoy, for a new national agreement, echoing something similar from Kieran Mulvey of the Labour Relations Commission, is a response to this. But they are not talking about pay increases to reduce inequality, or to increase labour’s share of national income.

No, they will try to use any national agreement to reduce income tax on the wealthy, with a buy-in for middle-income workers, further pushing the burden of tax onto workers’ shoulders through indirect taxes and a toll-booth approach to taxation.

This would then be used as an excuse for further cut-backs in public spending, attacks on social services, and privatization.

In addition to this, any percentage increase, on their terms, is likely to be around inflation levels, so in effect there would be no improvement for workers at all and in reality it would rule out wage increases over and above this. The option that the Irish capitalist class are offering Irish workers is low wages, no wages, or emigration.

Flat-rate across-the-board increases do little to address inequality or the needs of low-paid workers. Organised class-conscious workers need to rally inside the trade union movement against any return to national agreements on these terms.”

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