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Luas Strikes: Rage Against the Regime Media

category ireland / britain | workplace struggles | opinion / analysis author Tuesday February 23, 2016 16:50author by Tom Murray - WSM Report this post to the editors

To all of Ireland’s regime media - just what exactly is your problem with striking Luas workers?

The media demonising striking Luas workers suits their boss, Transdev, just fine. However, demonising striking workers suits your boss just fine too.

regime_media_meme.jpg

An experiment...Let’s look at a series of headlines generated at random by typing “Luas strike” and the name of one of seven news outlets (RTÉ, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Sun, Irish Mirror, Journal.ie, Breakingnews.ie) into a search engine. Taking the first two articles gives us a total of 14 news headlines from Thursday and Friday.

Here are the results:-

RTÉ

Travel disruption over second 48-hour Luas strike

€50m Luas strike warning ahead of two-day stoppage

Irish Mirror

Luas strikes to coincide with 1916 centenary commemorations and cause travel chaos across Dublin

Travel mayhem in store for Dublin commuters as Luas strike set to go ahead

Irish Sun

Luas workers confirm two 48-hour strikes which will cause commuter chaos for Dublin

Second Luas strike hits commuters... as union warns tram stoppages set to continue for MONTHS

Irish Independent

Commuter chaos as snow-ice warning hits part of the country, and Luas strike hits 90,000

Minister: No plan to halt strike by Luas workers

Irish Times

Luas strikes: ‘This is not what Larkin had in mind’

Vox pop: Striking Luas workers elicit little sympathy

Journal.ie

Luas drivers accused of ‘putting a gun to the head’ of Workplace Relations Commission.

Will you be walking to work today? No end in sight as Luas strikes enter day 3.

Breakingnews.ie

Luas drivers 'very sorry' about strike, says union spokesman

Transdev offer ‘heartfelt apology’ to commuters over Luas strike


What do these headlines have in common?

(1) Transport workers’ strikes are framed in terms of ‘travel disruption’ (and not, say worker-boss relations). Some media outlets up the ante and describe the disruption as ‘travel chaos’, ‘commuter chaos’ or ‘travel mayhem’. Note the association here between striking and irrationality, between workers’ collective action and madness. The media seem to be telling us, ‘The world was doing just fine, until you Luas workers refused to work’. Of course, we know this is untrue.

(2) Strikes are framed in terms of violence. Striking Luas workers do not just inconvenience travellers, apparently the strikes ‘hit’ them. Similarly, we are told that Luas drivers have been accused of ‘putting a gun to the head’ of the Workplace Relations Commission. (Regime Media line here is: ‘This strike is somehow dangerous and – of course - illegitimate. Shouldn’t the Minister for Transport be putting a halt to this? Won’t someone please think of the innocent commuters?!’).

(3) Striking Luas workers will not just impact Transdev profits, they will also ‘hit’ small and medium businesses in Dublin. (Regime Media really saying: ‘Look plebs, this whole money-making thing is really interconnected. If you stand up for yourselves and block the normal flow of events, it will cost the rest of us capitalists serious money. We are the best little country in the world to do business after all’).

(4) Workers standing up for themselves today should not be confused with workers standing up for themselves in the past. The men and women involved in the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Rising are all safely dead now. Luas workers shouldn’t interrupt the tourist and business opportunities associated with state commemorations. (Regime Media really saying: ‘How dare you threaten our 1916 centenary commemorations. How could you stoop so low? Don’t you know that they died for your freedom? YOUR FREEDOM! P.S. You Luas workers are no James Larkin-types. So get that out of your heads.’).

(5) Above all else, strikes are framed as boring. Strikes are not at all supposed to be an expression of our collective power, or our refusal to do the bidding of the rule of money. Strikes have the potential to be liberating, even exciting. But no, not in Ireland’s regime media. Inevitably, there is always ‘no end in sight’. The tram stoppages are set to continue for ‘MONTHS’. (Regime Media really saying: ‘Stop the madness and get back to work plebs. This is just going to drag on until you come to your senses’).

What is the Luas strike really about?

The Luas workers’ fight is all about resisting sub-contracted work and lower wages. They simply want the same conditions as other workers in similar grades and areas of work. Decent public transport with decent working conditions matters for our environment, our own working conditions, and our overall quality of life.

We have to resist the regime media’s anti-worker line on this strike and all strikes. The Luas workers shouldn't be left to fight on their own. SIPTU has the power to mobilise and win this vital strike!

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