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Peter Hadden

Attack on workers’ wages

(18 July 1975)

From Peter Hadden archives, Belfast, July 1975.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

The Labour & Trade Union Co-ordinating Group, a body of leading trade unionists and socialists who wish to see emerge in Northern Ireland a mass Labour Party, at a meeting held in Belfast to discuss the economic situation in this country, unanimously condemned the limitations imposed by the government on wages as laid down in its White Paper on inflation.

The earnings of workers in Northern Ireland are already well below those of England. Average take home pay here is £40.80 as compared to £49.40 across the water. Yet prices are no lower and on many basic necessities are actually higher than in England.

The policies of the government seem to be dictated by the Confederation of British Industry and the rest of the business fraternity, not by the working people who elected it to power. It was under pressure from such people as the head of the bank of England that Healy announced his stringent controls. With these policies the government is accepting the Tory myth that wages are the cause of inflation. The Labour & Trade Union Co-ordinating Group now predict that, despite these measures, prices will continue to shoot upward at more than the hoped for 10%.

The demands of working people are not the cause of prices rising. Wages chase prices, not vice versa.

The economic crisis we face is a crisis of the system itself. These must be no more attempts to place the burden of this crisis on the shoulders of workers, The meeting unanimously passed a resolution calling for a change of course on the part of the government, for the rejection of the “solutions” of capitalism and instead for the introduction of socialist measures which would replace the anarchy of our economy with rational socialist planning.

Peter Hadden

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