A protester displays the Irish flag, outside the Department of Finance building

Plans to cut the minimum wage and slash public service workforce has enraged Irish union leaders who warn of massive street protests and unrest.

Jack O’Connor, general president of Siptu, the largest union said  demands to cut the minimum wage was the the agenda of the elite in Irish society, who were “cheerleaders for the property bubble”.

He attacked  business leaders who he said want to “restructure the social architecture of Ireland” and make the most vulnerable bear the brunt of the proposed cutbacks.

He said everyone who adheres to the “principles of decency and fair play” should  participate in a major protest on Saturday.

The march, is organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

The Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan stated on Sunday that the minimum wage of $11 would have to be looked at because it has “increased far beyond the rate of inflation” over recent years.

One of Ireland’s biggest trade unions, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, said that the nation was on the brink of civil unrest if the government imposes further ‘draconian’ cuts to the public sector. The union is threatening a civil disobedience campaign unless Prime Minister Brian Cowen calls for an immediate election.

"When the measures being proposed are heaped on top of the €14.5bn cuts already implemented in the last three brutal budgets, life in Ireland will be unbearable," union  leader, Eamon Devoy, told the Guardian.

David Begg, the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, said the union movement was calling for mass protests on November 27 to "allow ordinary working people to voice their opposition to a policy that could destroy 90,000 more jobs.”