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Saturday 25 November 2017

Unions push for nationwide mortgage strike to punish banks

Ed Carty

Umbrella trade union group Congress has been called on to back a radical move targeting banks in a nationwide mortgage strike.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is demanding the fight against bailouts and budget cuts is taken straight to the doors of finance houses.

Dave Hughes, the nursing union's deputy general secretary, said workers have the power to challenge the crippling debt repayments facing the state.

"Congress and the majority of economists have now declared that Ireland's debt is unmanageable and there is no moral justification behind the demands that Irish taxpayers alone should pay it. Yet we as a nation continue to pay," he said.

"Public protest and strikes in Ireland and Greece have so far failed to persuade government to resist the demands of international bankers and opportunist markets.

"The fight must now be taken to those markets and banks by depriving them of their only resource, which is our willingness to pay.

"Ireland can lead the way in the fightback for workers and taxpayers in the face of rising taxes and penal interest rates if workers realise the new power created by their level of indebtedness."

The INMO is putting forward a motion at the Congress conference in Killarney calling for a broad-based campaign demanding that banks revise down the cost of household mortgages to reflect the current home value since the property crash.

It is also calling for laws to penalise those who commit what it describes as "financial treason".

The INMO said the motion will also call on Congress to prepare for and, if necessary, implement a mortgage strike if no inroads are made in easing the cost of mortgages.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore will also address the conference.

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