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Government creating future problems by failing the children of today – McLellan

16 April, 2015

Speaking on the issue of zero and low hour contracts in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for Children Sandra McLellan outlined the dangerous that such precarious work has on children, saying that by failure to act now, governments are committing themselves to addressing these mistakes in the future.

Deputy McLellan said:

“The growing number of families living in working poverty is having a detrimental impact on children and families with consequences felt by entire communities.  

 “Low pay, precarious employment is characterised by work that is unstable, unprotected and increasingly unable to sustain individuals and families. It means the future of work is uncertain and workers face a constant possibility of job loss. 

“Unfortunately, as we have witnessed most recently with Dunnes, the treatment of workers is secondary to profit. Precarious employment and low pay has such an impact on the lives of those it affects — including on their current and day-to-day lives, as well as on their future prospects — that their lives, and lives of their children, not just their work, are made precarious.

“It is increasing clear that women are carrying a heavier burden of responsibility — accompanied by increased levels of poverty for them and their children. Women around the world are more likely to be in precarious work than men.

“Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. It has long-lasting effects.  Leaving school with fewer qualifications translates into lower earnings over the course of a working life.

“Child poverty imposes costs on broader society. Governments end up committing themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty in the here and now.

“Ultimately, the effect of zero hour contracts, precarious work and resulting low pay on mothers with families is detrimental to our society as a whole.  If this Government is in any way serious about tackling societal issues, it must start with instilling protections to workers from the start so that parents and especially mothers are given some decent chance at providing futures for their children.” 

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