Workers have had enough of cuts, wage freezes, pensions being robbed – all to bail out the bankers and super-rich speculators who have wrecked the economy.
The cuts being implemented by the Assembly Executive are leading to crisis across public services. Thousands of jobs have already been lost as a result of cuts. In many areas, workers are barely able to cope with the workload as vacant positions are left unfilled, leading to unbearable pressures and ultimately worse services.
The decision of ALL the parties in the Assembly Executive to implement more than £4 billion cuts over the next four years threatens to destroy tens of thousands more jobs and vital public services. Already we have seen cuts to accident and emergency units at Mid-Ulster, Whiteabbey and Lagan Valley Hospitals with Belfast City Hospital set to close in November. These cuts are leading to lives being risked as remaining hospitals with fewer and fewer staff struggle to deliver adequate treatment. The Minister for Education John O’Dowd has insisted there are “longstanding schools whose history will come to an end”. Up to 400 schools are threatened with closure. Redundancies are already being made to cut staff in education. Transport for the elderly, school students and the disabled have all been cut. Libraries are closing and opening hours cut at a time when need for decent public services has never been greater.
Cuts cost Jobs!
The Assembly parties claim the economy is their number one priority yet unemployment continues to soar. There are no jobs – 6,000 people recently applied for 24 posts in the fire Rising unemployment is eroding consumer spending, leading to more shops closing. Wage “freezes” and attacks on pensions have seen workers wages decline as prices skyrocket. Cuts are deepening the recession!
While all the parties in the Executive take the axe to public services and workers, the super rich bankers and speculators who caused the crisis are seeing their incomes rise.
The cuts need to be fought tooth and nail by the entire trade union movement. We cannot afford to let another job or service be cut. Sectarian politicians will attempt to pitch worker against worker by arguing that certain services in certain cities or towns should be cut or that certain services – such as health – should be “prioritised” over others.
Unfortunately, there are some voices within the trade unions who echo this argument. This approach will not prevent cuts to health which accounts for a major part of public spending. The logic of this argument is that cuts should instead be made to education, libraries, transport, leisure facilities and other services which health workers and their families rely upon. It would divide and undermine the trade union movement. We need a united fightback against ALL cuts!
Strike action on 30 November needs to be followed by co-ordinated, united action against all the cuts to jobs and services. Through mass action we can defeat the cuts – but it will take more than just one day of strike action.
Cross-union strike committees should be elected in all public sector workplaces to build support for strike action and to organise picket lines.
– Offically 64,000 people are unemployed in Northern Ireland. The real figure looking for work is 118,000 (13.6%)
– Benefits are being cut by £81 billion
– Wage “freezes” while energy bills and prices skyrocket
– 15%-25% cut in pensions
– Hospital and school closures
– Last year, bosses of the top 100 companies in Britain received average salary increases of £1.3 million, taking the average salary to £4.5 million!
– Bankers will receive more than £7 billion in bonuses alone this year.
– Top companies in Northern Ireland will gain £400 million as a result of proposed cut in corporation tax.
“We need our own party”
It is evident that none of the parties in the Assembly represent the interests of working class people. They are united in inflicting cuts on ordinary people, Protestant & Catholic, and in favour of cutting corporation tax for big business.
The sectarian parties need to be challenged politically as well as industrially. The trade union movement must return to building a political alternative to represent the united interests of working class people.
The trade union movement should support the formation of a new mass working class party which could unite working class communities against the cuts and put forward a socialist alternative.
Join the Socialists
The Socialist Party unites Catholic and Protestant workers and young people against the right-wing policies of the main parties.
We have a proud tradition of leading and organising successful strikes and campaigns such as the term-time classroom assistants, initiating the anti-water charges We Won’t Pay Campaign and recently have played a leading role in developing the Stop the Cuts Campaign which is supported by trade unions such as NIPSA, INTO and FBU.
We campaign within the trade unions for fighting democratic unions controlled by the members with all officials elected and living on a workers wage.
We work closely with our sister parties in Scotland, England and Wales. In the South, our two TD’s – Joe Higgins and Clare Daly – together with our MEP and six councillors are leading the opposition to the austerity measures of the Fine Gael/Labour government.
We stand for an end to the failed capitalist system and for socialist change where the wealth of society is publically owned and democratically planned in the interests of ordinary people and the environment – not profit. If you agree with us, then join the Socialist Party and build the real opposition to cuts.