That's capitalism


A few results of the 'social partnership' deals have been published by the government's own Economic & Social Research Institute. In 1992 profits accounted for 39% of all national income. By last year they had risen to 42%, and are expected to be 46% by 2003. At the same time the share of national income going to wages was 52% in 1995 and is expected to fall to 48% by 2003. In 1987 wages accounted for 60% of national income.

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On Monday November 3rd, the chairman of Levi Strauss, Robert Hass, received an award from the United Nations for, according to the Wall Street Journal, making life better for his employees. On the same day 6,395 Levi workers got their 'pink slips' (P45s as we would call them). The company is closing 11 of its 37 plants in the US and Canada and reducing its workforce by 37,500.

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Since 1980 the pay for top executives in US companies (a number of whom have branches in this country!) has risen by a massive 182%. Corporate revenues only rose 128% in the same period.

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Zoe Developments are a 'disgrace' to the construction industry, according to the courts. But Zoe are no exception going by EU standards. Countless building workers have been killed (murdered?) and countless others seriously injured. In Germany for example, the building workers union IG Bau reckons that at least 3,500 foreign workers have died in the past seven years in accidents at work. During the first ten months of 1996, 153 dead bodies of foreign building workers were dumped on the side of quiet roads in Germany in an attempt to make them look like hit-and-run victims. Germans now refer to the building safety inspectors whose job it is to uphold safety standards on the sites as 'corpse counters.'

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Of the £365 million profit in foreign businesses declared by Irish investors last year, only £8 million found its way back to Ireland. The rest, presumably, joined the crooked cash of Haughey and Lowry in some offshore tax haven.

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As BUPA and the VHI battle for business we are being told that private health care provides the best service. In the USA, Columbia/HCA Healthcare, which made $900 million in the first six months of last year, is at the centre of a massive overbilling scandal. 500 federal agents have been assigned to the investigation. Another firm, National Medical Enterprise, had to pay out over $380 million to settle claims after it was discovered that they had imprisoned healthy patients in the firm's own psychiatric hospital until payments from their insurance companies ran out.

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A recent survey by international business consultants Inbucon Ireland found that Irish executive and managerial salaries increased by an average of 6.17% in the year to July, after rising by 5.95% the previous year. Managing directors in the food, drink and tobacco sector enjoyed an average salary of £101,756 per annum, compared to £78,275 in the chemical sector and a mere £49,186 in the electronics and computer industries. In addition 59.6% of managers received a 'bonus', average value £5,652. Good to see that our 'social partners' are doing so well thanks to workers' wage restraint!

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The 15 wealthiest cereal farmers in the European Union are now even wealthier. They have been given £19.5 million in, wait for it, "compensation" for a drop in income. The rich certainly know how to look after their own.


Gems of wisdom from our rulers

Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas
Former Australian cabinet minister Keppel Enderberry

I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have is that I didn't study Latin harder in school, so I could converse with those people.
Former US Vice-President Dan Quayle

When more and more people are thown out of work, unemployment results
Former US President Calvin Coolidge

Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind
US General William Westmoreland


This article is from Workers Solidarity No 53 published in January 1998