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Sinn Féin slams Junior Trade Minister for attack on Public Sector Workers

15 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP and National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald today slammed Junior Minister John McGuinness for his weekend rant against public sector workers.


The Dublin MEP said:


“It is truly shocking that any government Minister would level such abusive comments at any group of workers, particularly during sensitive pay talks


“Describing the public sector as an ‘inert mass at the centre of our economy’ is a little rich coming from the government’s bloated ranks of junior ministers. It’s worth reminding Mr. McGuinness that half of this states workers earn between €10 and €20 an hour and that the lowest grade worker in the public sector earns €457.80 per week. Perhaps the disparity between the junior Ministers massive double income from the state and the meagre earnings of low paid workers in the public sector might explain his lack of empathy with the demand for pay increases for the low paid.


“There are few inside or outside of government who do not accept that the public sector is in need of reform. The demands of the sector have changed over the last decade. It is Mr. McGuinness’s political party that has led successive governments during this time yet collectively they refuse to accept responsibility for failing to reform the sector in order to meet these demands. This responsibility lies squarely at their door.


“Despite Junior Minister McGuinness want to scapegoat public sector workers the fact is that his government needs to ensure that the current round of pay talks concludes with the needs of the states lowest paid workers addressed. Rising costs of living expenses for the low paid must be met, that is the reality.


“Government also needs to step in on non pay issues such as collective bargaining. The fact remains that this issue should have been dealt with long ago through legislation. It is the responsibility of government to deliver this demand.” ENDS


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