In respect of the day of protest scheduled for this Friday and the general issues pertaining to the trade union response to events, members of trade unions are perfectly entitled to take a day of action and to protest on the streets of their capital city. Not only are they so entitled but they are perfectly justified in so doing. Every time one makes a point about, for example, NAMA or some other issue pertaining to the economy, Members on the Government side ask, perhaps justifiably, what is one’s alternative. Practically five minutes into a discussion on the subject, the refrain from Members on the other side is what is one’s alternative.
I ask those who criticise trade union members who are taking to the streets and considering industrial action what alternative do they propose. What alternative do they propose to people who can see their living standards have dropped and who can see no real stake in the future? The problem people have is there is no clarity and they can see absolutely no stake into the future regarding how these issues should be dealt with in budgetary terms. What alternative is proposed by those people who fill the airwaves with criticisms of trade unions being lunatics and everything else?