Sinn Féin committed to standing by unions in the battle to save ESB
Speaking after ESB management announced that it is to seek approval from its board to close three power stations within three years Sinn Féin's Workers' Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD urged ESB management to ensure that proper and full consultation takes place with the estimated 300 staff affected and warned against the bigger picture of the Government's overall plan of bringing fresh competition into the market which will have serious repercussions for both citizens and employees.
The Louth TD said today, "Fianna Fáil dominated governments over the past decade have intentionally set about breaking up the ESB effectively setting up the profitable state-owned company for privatisation. There has already been widespread concerns expressed by Sinn Féin and unions that recent price hikes are part of the Government's overall agenda of fattening up the company before it is devoured at the table of privatisation. This government's obsession with selling off state-assets knows no bounds and they have failed to learn from the Eircom sell-off debacle which enriched the wealthy few at the expense of predominantly rural customers who are still without adequate phone and broadband access.
"The Government's policy will only benefit wealthy companies who come into the market. They have crudely presided over artificial electricity price hikes to entice private companies to enter our electricity market. In 2000 this State had amongst the lowest electricity prices in Europe, now we have the highest. While the Government and neo-liberal interests in the media have used labour costs as the scapegoat, this has been proven to be a fallacy.
"All unions must be commended and supported in their attempts to protect the ESB and Sinn Féin is committed to standing side by side with the trade unions in this ongoing battle. The ESB is a public utility there to provide an essential service and should not be asset-stripped and carved up into private profit-making enterprises to serve the interests of the few". ENDS