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Extra 5 cent an hour for low paid farcical - McDonald

17 September, 2008

Reacting to news that a draft new National Pay Deal has been agreed Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald described the agreement as a bad deal for the low paid. Ms. McDonald expressed deep disappointment that the deal has once again failed to deal with the issue of low pay and described the five cent an hour extra for low paid workers as farcical.

Speaking as details of the new deal emerged Ms. McDonald said, "I am deeply disappointed that the new pay deal which is emerging looks once again to have failed to deliver a fair deal for those on low pay.

"No matter what way this deal is dressed up it absolutely represents a bad deal for lower paid workers. Under the terms of the agreement lower paid workers will get a mere 0.5% increase above that of other workers. This amounts to an extra five cents an hour to a private sector worker earning an hourly rate of €10.

"In a climate of rising costs of living and the failure still of the Government to provide an anti-inflation package this pay rise for the low paid will have a near meaningless effect on the daily lives of those struggling on low pay.

"To suggest that this additional five cent an hour is dealing with the plight of the low paid is farcical. And, to add insult to injury, they will have to wait until the end of the eighteen months term of the agreement before they receive this additional increase.

"Unions representing low paid workers went into these talks seeking flat rate increases for low paid workers. They were absolutely right to do so and it is extremely disappointing that the Government did not recognise the need to for flat rate increases. It has long been clear that percentage pay increases deliver bad outcomes for the low paid as better paid workers benefit proportionally more.

"The Government may portray the deal as the best that could be achieved in the current economic climate however Sinn Féin is of the opinion that the most vulnerable in society should not be the people targeted to carry the can for the Government's economic mess." ENDS

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