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Pay talks must secure a better deal for low paid workers - Morgan

24 April, 2008

Speaking as the latest round of pay talks got underway in Government Buildings today Sinn Féin Workers’ Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said his party would like to see the issue of low paid workers dealt with as a specific issue.


Deputy Morgan said today, “At the time of the last pay deal, Sinn Féin argued that the lowest paid were failed by the agreement. The incremental wage increases to keep pace with inflation, were quickly outstripped by inflation and cost of living, at the lower end of the salary scale.


“In the new round of pay talks we want the matter of the low paid to be dealt with as a specific issue.


“Inflation cannot be solved by curtailing wages alone. Wages have to be high to pay for the high cost of living, i.e. mortgages, food, electricity, fuel, insurance, healthcare etc. What has the government done over the years to tackle escalating mortgage and energy costs? What has it done to ensure workers don't need health care insurance? If workers had these needs taken care of, there would be no need for wage increases in tough times.


“The government may have deferred their wage increases for now, but for the government and employers to be preaching about wage restraint when CEOs and government ministers are taking annual raises far in excess of the average industrial wage, is beyond hypocritical.


“Excessive pay increases at the top tier must be restrained in these pay talks and a more equitable distribution of wealth ensured through pay increases for the lower paid.


“The pay talks that came out of Towards 2016 and other social partnership agreements were hinged on other promises such as social infrastructure delivery. The Government has failed abysmally in this regard - it should approach this round of pay talks with a solid plan to fulfill its promises and make sure the next pay talks are set against a background of secure social provision.” ENDS

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