From Socialist Voice, September 2010

How the classes are treated, and who is paying for the crisis


On 19 August information was released to the public that exemplifies the class nature of the system and the class nature of who is to pay for the present economic crisis.
     Bank of Scotland, Ireland, announced its closure and winding-down plan for its operations that will eventually see close to a thousand workers directly lose their jobs. Subsequent reports reveal the penetration of Bank of Scotland into the hotel industry, in providing working capital for those businesses, and suggest that the total number of job losses as a result of this decision is likely to be more.
     The wound-down business will apparently be sold by Bank of Scotland to an independent company set up by its present senior management. This will enable the parent company to wash its hands of its operation and avoid having to make redundancy payments to the vast majority of its employees.
     It would appear that the only way for this scheme to be profitable for both the parent company and its senior management in Ireland is for workers’ redundancy payments to be substantially reduced by the employing company. While service is protected by transfer legislation, no such protection exists for redundancy terms.
     On the same day as this was announced the papers reported that senior executives in Anglo-Irish Bank received pay increases this year above the levels recommended by the Remuneration Oversight Committee. This was done with the knowledge and approval of the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, on the grounds that the work load of the senior management and directors had increased substantially, and that it was necessary in order to be competitive and to retain the services of these senior executives.
     The chairman of the board received an increase of 14½ per cent, from €218,000 to €250,000, while the pay of non-executive directors (part-time members of the board) was increased from €44,000 to €73,000—an increase of 65 per cent!
     An internal memo from a department official had recommended pay cuts for the senior management in Anglo-Irish Bank. Lenihan not only rejected this, and the recommendations from his committee on remuneration, but went on to agree to the massive pay increases. So much for Fianna Fáil’s patriotic “everyone must pay” policy!
     The class nature of the state and of the interests on whose behalf it governs are now obvious for all to see. What is needed now is a political and ideological fight back that questions the legitimacy of the system behind all this—capitalism—and of the states that represent it.
[NL]

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