Today’s day of action sees public servants on the picket line in protest against the government decision to impose a pension levy. As can be seen from the picture, Wexford’s government buildings at Anne St were picketed by members of the CPSU today. CPSU members are mostly clerical and administrative grades. Many of the union members are female. As well as in the civil service their members are also in the post office and eircom. Interestingly the members employed in commercial companies are not liable for the pensions levy. The vote in favour of strike action was pretty substantial on a high poll. Anne St provides social welfare, revenue as well as probationary services for Co. Wexford. Elsewhere locally pickets have been placed on the offices of the Department of Social, Family & Community Affairs at Roches Rd and at Johnstown Castle. Many of the workers striking today earn less than €30,000 and one woman explained to me that she's be better off on social welfare rather than working in soical welfare.
The Deputy General Secretary of the union Eoin Ronayne acknowledges the hardship faced by private sector workers and rising unemployment, but says the union must defend its members through industrial action - if necessary. Mr Ronayne said it would not be the union's intention to impact on the public who need its services, but warned that any action would have to be wide ranging and widespread.
Later tonight there’ll be more queues as record shops open at midnight to facilitate those wishing to buy U2’s latest album appropriately named “No line on the horizon”. There certainly is no sign of any horizon for the country or workers on average rates of pay, even less of a sign of Bono turning up to revenue to pay his fair share of tax to the Revenue Commissioners. Bono shifted part of his tax liability to Holland in 2006 the year of Live 8. Surely if you’re going to pontificate on social justice and inequity about the world you should at least be prepared to pay your own way. The Edge is reported today as being happy with his tax arrangements, I wonder why? I understand that there was a picket outside the Department of Finance yesterday in relation to Bono’s tax arrangements. The officials were probably relieved that it wasn’t themselves who were in the firing line on this one. That relief may not last for too much longer, Apparently there’s a press interview on the way where Bono defends the indefensible.