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Workers Should Not Pay for the Crisis

5 February, 2009

The Sinn Féin TD for North Kerry has stated that workers should not be the ones to carry the can for the current economic and financial crisis. Deputy Ferris was speaking during a Dáil debate this morning on the measures being proposed by the Government in relation to a pension levy on public sector workers.


Deputy Ferris said: “It is unfair that public sector workers, most of whom are on modest salaries, should have to bear the brunt of cuts in state spending. Many of those who are leading that call people who did very well out of the Celtic Tiger. There were many here who were happy to invest in the services sector, where wages have remained low even with the introduction of the minimum wage and in many of which working conditions and workers rights were undermined.


“And yet those who made large profits in those sectors, who were happy to charge consumers far more than they would have had to pay in other countries, are the first to demand that those who gained least over the period of economic prosperity be the ones to pay for it. And the same applies to those who were happy to push the price of housing and rents well above any other increases in the cost of living, and certainly above any increases in wages.


“That is why there is understandable resentment and anger among people who have lost their jobs and people within the public service who are being asked to take what is in effect a substantial pay cut. Not to mention the perception that this Government has in effect bailed out the banks and left those responsible walk away from the mess they created.


“Indeed a mess in which some of those involved were shown to have been engaged in practises which at the very least were underhand and unethical. And which it would appear were designed to allow themselves and their friends to continue to in effect gamble on the property and other markets. Not too many gamblers get their tab picked up for them by the state.


“There is lots of talk at the moment about responsibility and everyone taking their share of the burden. That is all very well but if that is to be seen to be more than empty rhetoric then it must be seen to be put into effect. However, where people can contrast the treatment of the bankers to public sector workers, then they will fail to be convinced. Many people this week are asking themselves why they should be the ones to take the hit when others are being let walk away.” ENDS




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