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« Hold Your Breath - We'll be Underwater for a Very Long Time | Main | Beyond Austerity »

August 27, 2013

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eamonn moran

ICTU policy was to favour reduction in numbers rather than reduction in wages (especially at higher levels). Introducing wage cuts and 4 day weeks to make up the disaster that was benchmarking would have led to a better outcome for the trade unions future, young people and people who rely on public services. Defending wages was considered more important than defending jobs. Its a bit rich now to say reducing jobs has had a negative effect.

Seanán Kerr

@eamonn moran My suspicion as to why worker reduction rather than wage reduction is favoured as a policy is all to do with banks and mortgages.

When the national economy is on the hook for some €350+ billion in contingent liability thanks to the bank guarantee you're better off having a small number of people in a lot of mortgage difficulty rather than a large number of people in some mortgage difficulty.

From the point of view of unions, well the cuts have involved mostly redundancy packages and screwing younger workers and graduates out of getting a foothold, (but they can all emigrate so who cares?) this is ideal scenario for the union membership in a "there is no alternative" political economy where austerity is being dictated from outside, and a controlled media ensures deeply hostile anti-union debate, making the coercion of strike action a somewhat hopeless enterprise (especially with an FG party in government enthralled to Thatcherite politics, and a post social partnership union leadership with a "march them up the hill and then back down again" mentality).

I've no idea if Mr. Taft would agree with this or not, but I think it at least offers an explanation for how the unions have behaved and I don't think it invalidates what Mr. Taft is saying, the truth is still the truth, the light of an exploding star is no less valid a testimony for it being thousands of years old.

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