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A low pay economy is not sustainable – Cullinane

24 February, 2015 - by David Cullinane TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers’ Rights and the Rapporteur of the Oireachtas Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Committee report on Low Pay and the Living Wage has said a low pay economy is not sustainable as it poses long-term challenges for society. 

Speaking during debate on the issue at a public session of the Jobs Committee, Senator Cullinane said:

“Twenty-one percent of workers are now categorised as low paid.”

“Another 11.7% are at risk of poverty and almost half a million are left with just €50 at the end of the month after paying their household bills.”

“In work poverty, underemployment, zero hour contracts, and uncertainty around working hours have a detrimental effect on workers and their families.”

“Exploitative and bad working conditions benefit no-one; they are bad for the economy, bad for workers and bad for society.”

“I welcome ISME’s Mark Fielding’s comment that employers have a responsibility to pay employees a fair rate of pay, but I do not agree that the market must be the sole determinant of this.”

“We need an economic model that is based on an equitable social contract and grounded in a strong sense of solidarity.”

“Employers have a social responsibility and are an important part of society.”

“The evidence is very clear. The EU countries that weathered the Eurozone crisis the best are those with decent public services,   collective bargaining and robust workers rights, and a strong state in terms of welfare provision.”

“Our current economic model is not sustainable as it puts serious ongoing pressure on the state to carry the deficit in earnings.” 

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