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Morgan urges Taoiseach to put the needs of the low paid centre stage in pay talks

1 July, 2008

During Taoiseach's questions in the Dáil this afternoon, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers' Rights Arthur Morgan TD called on An Taoiseach Brian Cowen to ensure that the needs of the low paid would be put centre stage at partnership pay talks. Morgan said low paid workers were struggling to meet rising costs of living and were dismayed by suggestions that they may be asked to accept a pay freeze.

Deputy Morgan said, "The needs of the low paid must be addressed as part of the current pay talks. The Taoiseach must assure us that this will be a clear priority. Low paid workers are coming under particular pressure due to the rising costs of living, particularly rising food and fuel costs.

"Those representing low paid workers, such as Mandate which represents low paid workers in the service and retail sectors, have made clear that their members simply cannot be expected to accept a pay freeze. Rising costs are pushing these workers to the brink. Such workers are dismayed by suggestions that they may be asked to accept a pay freeze.

"There was deep disappointment that the last round of pay talks, leading up to the Towards 2016 Agreement, failed to deal with the issue of low pay in any substantial way. It is vital that, at this time of economic difficulty and rising costs, we look after the most vulnerable - i.e. those trying to survive on low incomes.

"I am calling on the Taoiseach to make clear that he will ensure that the plight of the lowest paid is centre stage in the new round of pay negotiations." ENDS

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