Labour Party votes to end Sunday Premium for working poor
Speaking after the Government pushed through reductions to the Sunday Premium as part of the Industrial Relations Bill, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation Peadar Tóibín said:
“Last July Sinn Féin, in partnership with the trade union movement brought forward legislation to provide a legal framework for the operation of the Joint Labour Committees (JLCs) and to safeguard the rights of low paid workers. It has taken a year for the government to address this matter.
“At every stage of this bill we have put forward progressive and positive amendments to safeguard the rights of low paid workers and to reflect the needs of business. The government rejected these amendments.
“The JLC system was established to safeguard low paid workers from exploitation. This bill was an opportunity for the government, a government that includes the Labour Party to continue to support these workers.
“I agree that businesses need cost savings to survive but I believe that the wages of the working poor should be the last place a government should go to achieve these cost savings. Upward Only Rents, unfair rates, high insurance costs, over burdensome and ineffectual red tape and fuel costs are all places that the government could make a competitive difference.
“On publishing the bill, the Minister stated: ‘I have been determined to strike a balance between protecting vulnerable workers and providing reforms that would make systems more competitive and more flexible so as to allow for the creation of jobs in these sectors.’
“I tabled an amendment to the bill today which would have protected the Sunday Premium rates. The government failed Sunday workers and voted against it. What we have is a government that has effectively taken money out of the pockets of the working poor.
“There is no doubt that our economy is in crisis but recovery should not and cannot be built on creating further poverty.”