Let’s be honest. We’re all part of some vested interest or another, and the 100,000 people demonstrating on Saturday were no different.
Given an average annual cost of 47k per public sector worker, that was effectively €4.7 billion of an annual tax bill walking right there. It’s true, of course, that public sector workers pay tax just like the rest of us, and so pay for a good chunk of their own costs, but not all.
Someone has to pick up the tab, and if not them, then the rest of us.
The great majority of those marching were public sector workers. Not all, and it has to be noted that the Waterford Crystal workers in particular have a serious grievence, but the idea that these were all just “Ordinary” workers is just not accurate.
Public sector workers are not ordinary workers.
The public sector makes up 20% of the workforce. Do we really believe that they will make up 20% of the redundancies?
In the private sector, people pay 10-15% of their income for a pension that in recent times has all but evaporated. The public sector people are being asked to pay, in many cases less, for a guaranteed pension.
There are some who are saying that this is all about trying to divide public and private sector workers, but the truth is, they are already divided. Public sector workers are the upper class of the Irish workforce, and that’s the reality.
ICTU make a fair point about the obscenity of bailing our banks whilst letting working people go under, but it’s a false prospectus to tell people that we can get out of this crisis without any pain to them. Ain’t going to happen. We are all going to suffer, and the private sector worker is already suffering.
The public sector have a right to stand up for themselves. They most certainly don’t have a right to be morally superior about it.