Hundreds of occupying Waterford Crystal workers, members of the Unite trade union, will be joining today’s national demonstration in Dublin.
It has been called by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) against the government’s attempts to place the full burden of the capitalist crisis on the backs of Irish workers.
Rob Hartnett, Ireland’s Unite spokesman told News Line yesterday: ‘There will be buses bringing hundreds of workers from Waterford to march alongside workers and fellow trade unionists in Dublin.
‘We greatly appreciate the support which we have been shown thus far and are pleased to have the opportunity to give something back to the broader movement.
‘We have been occupying for three weeks today and we will be leaving enough people behind in order to maintain the protest.
‘We’re laying down a marker that enough is enough.
‘Whilst we recognise these are difficult times, workers should not have to bear the burden for those who have created the problems in the first place.’
The SIPTU trade union yesterday called for a mass turnout of construction workers today.
SIPTU hit out at construction industry employers who are seeking a ten per cent pay cut for 190,000 building workers as part of a renegotiation of industry agreements.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) was arguing the case for the cut at the Labour Court yesterday, claiming it is needed to protect jobs.
The trade union movement is putting forward an alternative case seeking a six per cent pay increase over the next 21 months.
SIPTU said the employers have a ‘brass neck’ in calling for a pay cut given the massive profits they have made in recent years.
There were angry scenes outside the Labour Court where a group of protesting construction workers lobbied CIF Director General Tom Parlon as he arrived to make his submissions.
SIPTU National Organiser and Chairperson of the Construction Industry Committee Noel Dowling, said that builders and developers, ‘were the biggest beneficiaries of the economic boom and the first group of employers to walk away from their commitments to their workers and the wider community’.
He added: ‘It was their excessive profit-taking and manipulation of the market that played a leading role in creating the present crisis.
‘Between 2003 and 2007 profits in the industry rose by 66 per cent and wages by 22 per cent.’
He said: ‘We are now witnessing an all-out attack on PAYE workers and their families.’
The ICTU is due to meet in emergency session early next week, where union leaders will be considering calling industrial action.
An ICTU spokeman told News Line yesterday: ‘We’ve made it clear that the demonstration tomorrow is the first step in a rolling campaign and the executive council of Congress will be meeting on Tuesday to assess the situation and plan the next phase.’