OUR workers deserve a minimum pay of €12.30 an hour, Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion told The Observer.
She was speaking after the contradictory position taken by the Government in denying a decent pay increase to low paid workers but gifting Junior Ministers with highly paid advisers.
The Government-appointed Low Pay Commission could only manage a proposal for a 1% hike that of10cents increase on minimum pay of €10.10 an hour.
“Following this ridiculous proposal the Irish Congress of Trade Union withdrew from the Low Pay Commission and Sinn Féin fully supports the unions.”
Funchion added: “The global health emergency has put a spotlight on the need for high standards of health and safety at work and the derisory pay and protections many of our workers have to endure under our laws.
“We must re-examine the manner in which we define essential or frontline work.
“In addition to the excellent work of hospital and health care workers we continue to have Trojan work and service by retail and supply chain workers.
Necessities of life
“The latter and others keep us supplied with essential food and goods.
“These and countless other workers deserve more than a paltry increase.”
She continued “A living wage is intended to establish an hourly rate that should provide a worker with enough income to have an acceptable standard of living.
“It is the income floor which allows employees to obtain the necessities of life.
“Earnings below the living wage mean workers are deprived of essentials.
“With the cost of living increasing and the cost of rent and housing astronomical, it is time that we achieve the Living Wage.
“Government has the wherewithal to take this decision through legislation and there is no need for them to hide behind any commission.
“The lowest paid in society
suffered most during the
“We will hear the usual cries from the usual circles that this is populism.
“It’s strange how we only hear that when it comes to helping working families and never when the tax breaks, concessions and grants are doled out to the rich.
Insult to injury
“To add insult to injury, we had this FF, FG, Green Party Government agree to add 10 advisers for Junior Ministers.
“These will be paid between €67,000 and €78,000 a year.
Advisers are for Ministers and Junior Ministers paid between €87,000 to €101,000 a year.
Minister Helen McEntee of FG defended the move on the basis that these Ministers ‘are making decisions that impact on thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people’s lives’.
“That is a serious over statement of these Junior Ministers’ importance but how does the Government square that with standing by a miserly 10cent increase for workers?
“Ironically the FG Government Minister made her statement at an event aimed at raising awareness to the damage fireworks can cause at Hallowe’en.
“The Minister should prepare herself for further fireworks in the Dáil when its position on the Minimum Wage and their cutting of the Pandemic
Unemployment Payment continues to be raised.”