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Beating back the Stormont House Agreement

Time for plan B!

The ICTU March 13 day of action was an important opportunity to demonstrate our opposition to the catastrophe facing the working class in the North:

  • Benefit cuts and a sanctions culture will mean misery for the unemployed and disabled.
  • 20,000 jobs will lead to mass unemployment.
  • Public resources are to be sold off. Services such as Translink are under immediate threat of privatisation. Housing and Health care are under threat.
  • Corporation tax will see public money transferred from the poor to the ultra rich.
However we all know that we don't yet have the means to push back Stormont House. Even though the overall austerity plan involves driving down wage rates and living standards for all, only public service unions are involved today - and not all of them. A top-down approach to organising in the community meant that an opportunity to build a broader and more representative campaign in the community has been missed.

But the major weakness is political. The union strategy is to lobby politicians to change their mind. Yet it is evident from the Sinn Fein U-turn that failure to agree will lead to the suspension of Stormont. There is no scenario where the local administration will act in the interest of workers. ICTU ignore the political elements of the deal - yet Stormont House involved a sectarian carve-up that will be used to prevent a united working class response.

The Stormont set-up was supposed to deliver peace and prosperity. What we have is austerity and constantly accelerating sectarian division.

It's time for plan B 

What we need is a campaign that unites unions, community and political groups in a broad democratic movement and an agreed programme of unrelenting opposition to austerity.

Rather than lobbying politicians, the focus will be on organising workers in the workplace and in the community, acting together to resist the coming attacks.

We are unapologetic in calling for the closure of Stormont, a corrupt sectarian monstrosity. Better to face the Westminster organ grinder than deal with the Stormont Monkey.

The water charges campaign in the 26 counties has shown us the power of working people we should look to unite across the island to advance an alternative, socialist society.


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