Murphy Lillian

Lillian Murphy

This article by a Belfast factory worker and member of the Communist Party of Ireland is reproduced from `World Marxist Review’, February 1980:

"In the factory where I work there are only five women. We began to fight for equal pay with men and we spoke to the men about it. We did not at once get their support. Many had the fear they would lose their jobs, which was, of course, very real, because of the mass unemployment in the country. But we did not lose hope. I spoke to the men again and again about the injustice of the situation, and promised that if we got their support they could always count on us supporting them.

After futile negotiations with the management, the five of us went on strike. They gave us two hours to think it over. When we told them we would not go back to work they took us off the payroll. But we stayed at the factory till the whistle blew to go home, and came back the next day. That day the men decided to go on strike a half-day with us. We had a half-day strike each week, and eventually got our equal pay.

The Party teaches us solidarity and unity. This active stand of the Communists opens people’s eyes to the fact that the Communist Party acts for the working class. I was convinced of this myself when I went to work in an aircraft factory in 1940. There, as I soon learned, all the shop stewards and workers’ committee chairmen were Communists. It was not at all hard to link this to the fact that the factory workers were getting a fair deal as far as working conditions and wages were concerned. This is what finally made me decide that my place was in the Communist Party.

The Communists at our factory are fighting unemployment and pressing for better working conditions and housing. For instance, I was elected secretary of a tenants’ association, and that in a district strongly influenced by Protestant organisations. But even there, as you can see, the Communists are trusted and valued as honest and able to do much for ordinary people.

While working on day-to-day requirements we do not forget our country’s main problem, that of civil rights, of the prospects of struggle for a new society.

When I am asked if I’m ever sorry I took this difficult road, I reply that my whole life shows that I had chosen correctly. To be a Communist means to live for others."

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