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Decision to reverse higher civil servants pay cuts rubs salt into the wounds of those on lower salaries – Ó Snodaigh

9 February, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening, on a private members’ motion on the pay levels of senior civil servants, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the decision before Christmas to reverse the cuts on higher paid people within the public service was the equivalent of rubbing salt into the wounds of those on lower salaries.

He also called for support for a Sinn Féin amendment which demands that the Government reverse the pay cuts imposed on public servants earning less than €100,000 per year.

He said,

“As was pointed out at the time the Budget was introduced the cuts in income for some people in the public service, including some people working in the environs of Leinster House, meant that they were being placed in a situation where they were eligible to apply for Family Income Supplement.

“That is surely a ludicrous situation whereby the state cuts someone’s income ostensibly to save taxpayers money, and then finds itself in a situation in which part of those savings are returned to that person via social welfare payments, which apart from the actual monetary value to the recipient also entails administrative costs.

“But then the very same skewed logic is evident in the minimum wage and other low wage sectors, where the state is basically subsidising low wage employers through Family Income Supplement, because it is aware that it is virtually impossible for any person with children to live other than hand to mouth on €346 per week given the high cost of accommodation and other necessities.

“Many of which of course have to be rented or purchased from the brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the same people who think that earning €8.65 per hour for serving meals or drinks that cost more than that represents a fair return.

“The politics of the situation are quite apparent then. Once the Government had, as they saw it, broken the public service unions on the pay cuts, they were now set to follow the rest of the right wing agenda and go after the minimum wage which is the object of the proposed amendments to the Industrial Relations Bill.

“There is a clear dividing line then between those who believe that those least responsible and least well able to afford to pay for the current crisis are made carry that burden, and those of us who resolutely oppose such an approach.” ENDS

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