The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Republican Socialist Alternative Economic Strategy
Liam O Ruairc • 31.10.03

“In its latest economic review, the business advisers PriceWaterHouseCoopers says the serious weakness of the Northern Irish economy is being hidden by a "veneer of economic prosperity". At the same time, the First Trust Bank economic outlook and business review says that the North is facing a situation where "there are no more free lunches".”

One of the main reasons why the local economy (North and South for that matter) is in a fragile condition is that it is highly dependent on the investments of multinational corporations. Those companies are not here for the "craic", but for their profits, and if they can make more money, they will have no qualms to move from Belfast to Bengalore. The same could be said of local companies who closed down some of their operations in the North. These closures have resulted in some huge job losses, the consequences of delocalisation for the local economy have been disastrous. Various economic experts, government agencies and business leaders tell us that this is "inevitable" and that there are no alternatives.

What can be done? In Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, there are new laws (or projects for such laws) to curtail cuts, closures, delocalisations and redundancies by companies, both national and multinational, both at a European and national level. MPs and MEPs have pointed that it was unacceptable that redundancies could coincide with massive profits for those companies, showing the sharp opposition between social well being and profitability of companies. For example, in Belgium, Ford has recently made 3000 people redundant while at the same time making 1.36 billion dollars in profits for the first six months of 2003.

What is the actual content of this proposed legislation? First, there can be no cuts, redundancies, delocalisations or closures unless approved by the joint management/employees corporate committee of that particular company, and a plan to save jobs and wages has been collectively agreed. In the abscence of such a collective agreement, and until this agreement has been implimented, everybody in the company is entitled to keep their employment and wages.

Secondly, the employer will have to provide completely, correctly, and in time the totality of the facts and data on the basis of which the decision is taken to proceed with cuts, redundancies or closures, including information relating to other units and subdivisions of the group to which the company may belong. Plans for redundancies and closures will have to be announced in advance.

Thirdly, any employer transgressing this legislation or information and consultation procedures will have to repay any public funding or grants received over the five years preceding the infraction.This money will be paid to a Fund for Economic Democracy, and will serve to finance alternative solutions to cuts and closures. This Fund could also receive additional funding from a special tax on profits, rents and dividends (a tax of a nature similar to the proposed Tobin Tax on financial speculation).

Finally, sanctions against employers who wouldn't respect this legislation would range from fines to prison sentences. This could also be extended to the major shareholders of that company.

These suggestions could be part of an all-Ireland Republican Socialist Alternative Economic Strategy. It is a matter of time before some major company will go announce some "restructuration" plan that will result in closures and job losses. To guarantee continuity of employment and income, it is necessary that we fight for a legislation that will curtail the ability of companies to make our lives insecure. It is imperative to make the corporate world accountable to the people.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

31 October 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Cieran Perry of Working Class Action Interviewed
Anthony McIntyre


Republican Socialist Alternative Economic Strategy

Liam O Ruairc


The Ultimate Obscenity
Thomas Gore


The Chomskybot Code
Mary La Rosa


CAFTA Thumb Screws - The "Nuts and Bolts" of Free Trade Extortion
Toni Solo


27 October 2003


Pulling the Guns Over Their Eyes
Anthony McIntyre


Time for the Media to Take a Different Spin

Brendan O Neill


Die Hard. Die Harder!
Kathleen O Halloran


The Sound of Silence
Sean Smyth


The Raison d'Erte of 'Dissenting Republicans'
Liam O Comain


Figures of Dissent
Liam O Ruairc


The Occupation Runs Out of Gas
Stan Goff


The Letters Page has been updated.




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