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Sinn Féin TDs act in solidarity with public service workers

24 November, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

“Resist efforts to demonise public service workers” – Ó Caoláin

Sinn Féin TDs today expressed their solidarity with striking public service workers by refusing to pass their picket on Leinster House. Speaking at the picket line, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

“The Sinn Féin TDs are today standing in solidarity with the day of action called by the trade union movement and we are not passing the picket at Leinster House.

“Workers in the public service have been left with no choice but to resort to industrial action given the intransigence of the Fianna Fáil/Green government in its determination to impose across-the-board pay cuts, on top of the pay cuts and redundancies already imposed. This is a key element in the fundamentally flawed Government approach to the forthcoming Budget which will also see cuts to social welfare and to vital services such as health and education.

“We reject efforts to demonise public service workers and to create false divisions between those in the public and private sectors. These workers come from the same families, the same households, the same communities. Many are on low or modest incomes and are struggling to meet mortgage payments and the cost of rearing young families.

“Two-thirds of workers in the public service are paid below €50,000 a year and four out of ten are paid less than €40,000 a year. Contrast this with the 1,447 people, 0.06% of all earners who received approximately €3.459 billion between them in 2008. More than 25% of the top 400 earners paid tax at a rate of less than 20%.

“Trade unionists in the public and private sectors are protesting for a better, fairer way to address the economic crisis. Workers are already making sacrifices for the common good and they are prepared to do more but they cannot be expected to bear the whole burden while the elite who caused the crisis are let off the hook again.

“In our Pre-Budget Submission Sinn Féin has shown that an alternative road to recovery is possible and we look forward to working with trade unionists in the coming weeks and months in the continuing campaign for a fair and viable route out of the economic crisis.” ENDS

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