Workers have to bail out 'financial joyriders'
ORDINARY workers are being forced to bail out "financial joyriders" in the scandal-hit banking sector, a teachers' conference heard last night.
In a stinging attack on the Government's economic policies, the President of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), Maire Ni Chuinneagain, predicted more swingeing cuts in the education sector.
She said these policies had caused the economy to crash spectacularly and unemployment to rocket, leaving emigration as the "default option" for thousands of people.
"Workers and those on welfare have been demonised and then penalised. Public services and small businesses are being decimated and vital capital investment curtailed," Ms Ni Chuinneagain told the opening of the INTO's annual conference in Galway.
Ms Ni Chuinneagain accused the Government of equating patriotism with giving €40bn to the "lifeless" Anglo Irish Bank while slashing the income of workers, welfare recipients and those with disabilities.
The president also said pensions of public sector workers were threatened in a race to the bottom because she said private sector pensions had crashed due to the worst management of pension funds in the world.
Teachers were angry at what she described as a government agenda to drive down wages throughout the economy in the most concerted attack against labour in 100 years.
"Anger is understandable, reasonable and rational but anger is not a policy," the president told the congress, which will be debating the proposed national agreement.
The union leader also criticised the increased bureaucracy that she said was making teachers' lives more difficult.
"It is bizarre that a government that cannot regulate head shops swamps schools in regulations."
She called on the Government to "cut out all the unnecessary wasteful bureaucratic nonsense that has developed in the education system over the last two decades".
The union president also called for new education reforms, including a four-year teacher-training course. She also said interviews should be part of teacher selection.