Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unfair To Who?

Trade unions in Ireland have gone out on strike, to protest against planned wage cuts for public service workers. A successful strike requires the support of non-union members, the general public---the same people who make less than those who walked off their jobs.

People employed in the private sector earn less than the public service sector. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions seems to have forgotten this proven fact. Instead, in the face of unsustainable costs, they've decided to launch a very public complaint about being asked to take pay cuts that would bring member wages in line with everyone else's.

And they expect sympathy from the general public.

Doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters and paper-shufflers are walking the picket lines, demanding that their pay not be reduced. Demanding that people who make as much as 20% less than them pay more in taxes to fund their bloated pay checks. Inconveniencing people, frightening people who are afraid to get sick or light a match in case no one will be there to take care of the issue. Yes, ICTU expects sympathy for their cause.

When Jim Larkin called out the workers, conditions were grim and pay was low. Today, ICTU calls out the workers and they're well-paid, with decent working conditions.

In 1913, W.B. Yeats wrote poems in support of those locked out in Dublin. In 2009, no one's writing poems. Just as no one is demanding that service workers paid by tax dollars aren't asked to make sacrifices like everyone else when the government's run out of money.

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