National Executive Committee, Communist Party of Ireland
26 August 2014
Iarnród Éireann workers are struggling to prevent a cut in wages arising out of Government policy, which is to run down the rail service, and public transport in general, in the interests of privately owned companies, to shift the burden of running public transport onto the workers and travelling public, and to remove the state from any meaningful social responsibility for providing a comprehensive public transport service.
So also are the Greyhound workers, whose employer wishes to cut their wages by a third and further erode their working conditions—a direct result of the wholesale privatisation of the collection of household waste.
The establishment has created a free-for-all with little if any regulation in this industry, dominated by a Wild West approach by ruthless get-rich-quick employers and a savage drive to the bottom in workers’ wages and conditions as well as poorer services. Refuse collection services are now a great deal worse than when they were provided by the local authorities themselves.
This dispute can be settled in a just way for the workers only when all waste collection is brought back under the control of local authorities. In the meantime the demand must be that a Joint Labour Committee be set up to establish basic wages and conditions for this industry, to prevent workers’ wages and conditions being driven further down as the main factor in competition between gangster employers.
Maximum pressure must be put on Greyhound to allow its employees back to work and to end the use of agency and scab labour. The outcome of this lock-out will affect the security of employment of every private employee in the country.
The Government cannot be allowed to walk away from its responsibility. In particular, the Labour Party must demand the beefing up of regulatory controls by the Environmental Protection Agency over these rogue companies, to regulate how and by whom such companies can be set up, and where they are registered, and to ensure that the companies’ books are open to public scrutiny.
Both these disputes arise out of the general offensive of employers and government against workers’ wages and conditions. The response of the trade union movement to this offensive has so far been cowardly and conciliatory. Clearly this policy has not worked; it is time for a policy of resistance.
The CPI is appalled at the suffering, amounting to torture, inflicted by the state on a young immigrant woman seeking asylum here. The woman in question had no money with which to exercise her right to travel, as she was a refugee, being held in disgraceful internment-like conditions and prevented from taking up employment. This greatly exacerbated her position. She was suicidal as a consequence of her pregnancy, which resulted from a horrific rape. She was clearly entitled to an abortion under section 9 of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, on the grounds of her risk of suicide; but this was delayed, adding to her suffering, until she could be made to deliver by caesarean section.
The CPI reiterates its support for the demand for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and for legislation to recognise women’s right to choose.
The CPI expresses its solidarity with the Palestinian people, now living under a prolonged siege by the Zionist state of Israel and suffering savage violence daily. To the gallant people of Palestine the party expresses its continued solidarity. The Israeli Zionist-military state has unleashed a savage and brutal war against the people of Gaza, while imperialist governments mouth empty rhetoric and their pretended condemnation of Israel’s genocidal war.
The people must demand that the Israeli embassy be closed and the ambassador expelled. We need to move beyond outrage, disgust and charity to building political solidarity with the Palestinian people and in particular to building the boycott campaign.
Trade unions have an important role in educating their members in accordance with ICTU policy on why they need to boycott Israeli goods. Unions also need to use whatever little influence they may have within the Labour Party to pressure it into taking action at the Government level to stop all trade with Israel.
To the people of Ukraine the CPI expresses its solidarity, and with those resisting the forces of fascism, forces preserved, encouraged and unleashed by the United States, the European Union, and NATO.
The wars in Palestine, Syria and Ukraine demonstrate once again the imperialist powers’ willingness to make use of the darkest and most brutal agents, whether Zionist, jihadi, or neo-Nazi, which they persist in imagining they can control as part of their strategy of permanent war. They use groups like ISIS to fuel fear and confusion among working people around the world and in particular to sow confusion among peace activists as to their real intentions in building a war psychosis among a confused and terrified populace. They have no regard for the consequences of their policies for the peoples of the world, including their own peoples, or the risks of a wider war.