Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin Workers Rights Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD

5 September, 2008

Responding to today's resumption of the pay talks Sinn Féin Workers Rights Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has reiterated his party's demand that wage increases for the low paid must be delivered on.

The Louth TD said:

"Job loses outlined in CSO figures released this week highlight rising unemployment across a range of sectors. No one can argue that businesses across the country are experiencing first hand the sharp economic turn. However in truly tangible terms it is the low paid who are bearing the harshest brunt of the states current economic challenges.

"Employers and government need to accept that increased cost of living expenses have to be addressed for the low paid. To demand pay freezes for these workers is reckless in both social and economic terms.

"Yesterday's call by the ECB to end the linking of pay increases to the rate of inflation was unhelpful in terms of the particular economic challenges this state is currently facing. Whilst there is no doubt the global fuel, food and finance crisis is significant factor in the economy's downturn what sets us apart from our European partners is this government's failed economic policy of making the public purse overly dependent on consumption and construction.

"Rising cost of living expenses and their impact on the low paid simply have to be addressed, that is the reality. Arguably applying percentage pay increases across the board is an inequitable method of approaching pay deals as it is the higher paid who benefit most. This round of pay talks must adopt an innovative and compassionate perspective that incorporates the very real needs of the low paid whilst acting responsibly to ensure the economy's stability in the short term.

"Non pay issues such as collective bargaining must also be addressed during the talks. However it is the legislative responsibility of this government to deliver this demand. Fianna Fáil and their government partners have refused to progress collective bargaining legislation through the Oireachtas. It is this refusal that has resulted in trade unions having to negotiate this demand through the pay talk's process." ENDS

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