Minimum wage cut most malicious of all – Ferris
Sinn Féin Workers’ Rights Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has described the cut in the minimum wage as the most malicious of thing thrown at ordinary people as part of the budget.
Deputy Ferris said if the Government is still in place in January then the 92nd anniversary of the first Dáil should be marked with a national day of protest.
Speaking in the Dáil this evening Deputy Ferris said:
“Of all the cynical nasty things thrown at the ordinary people of this country as part of this budget and the so-called road to recovery, the cutting of the minimum wage must surely stand out as the most malicious.
“I spoke at a protest outside this afternoon and was struck by the stark reality of what cutting the minimum wage by 12% actually means to people.
“For those of us on higher incomes a 12% cut would mean perhaps going without certain luxuries. For a single person on €306 a week - €304.27 in fact after they pay their Universal Social Charge – that means that stark choices have to be made every day of the week regarding food, rent, the cost of heating themselves, and the cost of getting to work in the first place, never mind being able to enjoy any sort of life in the community.
“Cutting the minimum wage has been put forward as a means of stimulating the economy.
“It is surely a strange logic that tells us that taking €40 a week out of the pocket of a worker and putting it into the pocket of a low paying employer is going to create jobs and growth.
“Then again it is the logic of a Government that believes that taking billions out of the spending power of Irish citizens and throwing it into the black hole of the bank debt is also going to create growth.
“It is also the logic of a Government which criticised my party and others for proposing to use part of the National Pension Reserve Fund as a stimulant, and then turned around and put the entire pension reserve as collateral against the banking debt.
“We need to stop this and we need to bring this anti national anti citizen government to book.
“If they have not gone quietly by January perhaps we ought to mark the 92nd anniversary of the first meeting of Dáil Éireann with a national day of protest.
“Irish working people and indeed all of those who are angered and even ashamed over the surrender to the IMF and the banks need to make their feelings crystal clear. Especially given the speculation that the Government will pull some slight of hand to ensure that their term goes beyond the time frame demanded by the Greens.
We cannot afford to allow them any more time. Time which they may in fact use to sell off state assets like our forestry lands and the ESB to their friends.
“I am calling on all those members of this House who are outraged by this nasty move – and that includes some members of the Government parties – to vote against the decision to cut the minimum wage.
“My party will also be voting against the cut to be imposed on low to middle income public service pensioners. If, as Sinn Féin proposed, the Government had capped the salaries of public servants at €100,000 this would have saved €350 million for the State per year – that is most of what is being cut from social welfare rates for people of working age or nearly half of what is being cut from the Health budget.
“In relation to the rates of pay for Government office holders my party has made its position clear on this and has called for greater cuts than are proposed here.
“The fact that the Government has treated certain sectors in a relatively benign manner contrasts with their savage attacks on the ordinary working people of this state, and on people dependent on social welfare.” ENDS