See CPSU votes in support of strike action - RT News
The government austerity programme is on target thanks to both punitive tax increases and politically easy cuts in government capital spending made at the expense of private sector contractors and their workers. The IMF/EU/ECB troika expressed confidence this week with government progress on austerity but they may not be so happy on their return visit in September to review the Croke Park Agreement.
That's because the politically hard cuts now begin in public sector pay and social welfare. But the CPSU is having none of it,throwing down the gauntlet to the government by voting to strike if pay cuts are implemented.
It would be unprecedented if essential government services suffered a major breakdown in strikes. No government could tolerate that for more than a few days. It would be faced with some grim choices. First,it could cave in to public sector unions,making alternative savings in deeper social welfare cuts than planned or increasing taxes to ridiculous levels. That would destroy the government's standing with the general public.Second,it could stand up to the public sector unions and legislate them back to work after a dramatic debate in the Dail designed to emphasise the gravity of strikes in essential services. To prevent workers from sabotaging services through working to rule,the back-to-work legislation would have to include severe sanctions for any worker refusing to obey an order of a supervisor,including summary dismissal. Working to rule would have to be outlawed,a supervisor's judgement being sufficient legal evidence of that (similar to a senior guard's word being sufficient proof of IRA membership!)
There is a danger that back-to-work legislation could lead to a widening of strikes in the public sector to air traffic control,public transport and ESB. That might be seized on by political extremists as a whiff of an Irish Spring Revolution . The government needs to have detailed plans ready to cope with such contingencies,for example Thatcherite style legislation imposing draconian daily fines on unions striking essential services.