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Kearney calls for establishment of new employment model based upon Living Wage

20 May, 2019 - by Declan Kearney

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's policy document "Towards a New Employment Model", the Party's National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA, and spokesperson on Employment and Workers' Rights, said:

"Here in the north, a decade of British Tory austerity has had a devastating impact upon the regional labour market and local living standards.

"Since 2010 the block grant has been cut by 10.2% in real terms.

"Precarious working conditions, zero hours contracts and the scam of bogus self employment are in common practice.

"Workers rights and protections are being systematically reversed.

"Our Party believes secure employment and good pay should be the foundation of a sustainable, productive economy, and a prosperous, fair society.

"We believe that creating good jobs and protecting workers rights should be integral to public policy north and south.

"We have consolidated our proposals in this policy document "Towards a new Employment Model".

"At it's core is our support for the Living Wage as a minimum standard for decent pay. 

"We say that government as a major employer should lead the way, along with all public sector bodies, and pay their own staff the Living Wage as a minimum. 

"We assert that zero hours contracts are unfair, unproductive and exploitative. 

"This practice should be banned from the work place.

"Central to this policy document is our proposal to establish a new employment model.

"We urge all social partners, including public and private sector employers, the trade union movement and other stakeholders, to agree a new employment model which commits to ensuring the regional and island economies are based upon the principle and practice of the Living Wage.

"Turning to the issue of Brexit, Mr Kearney said: "The onset of Brexit will be a catastrophe for the regional and island economies.

"The combination of Brexit and Tory austerity, threatens jobs across all sectors, workers terms and conditions, and the prospect of ever having sustainable public services in the north.

"This perfect storm sharpens the implications of the political crisis in the north, caused by the denial of rights, successive financial scandals and an institutionalised lack of integrity in the regional government.

"The refusal to implement the Bill of Rights enshrined 21 years ago in the Good Friday Agreement, as well as other key provisions of that agreement, graphically sums up why all of these problems are now so mutually interlocking.

"Workers and employment rights, just like language, marriage, legacy justice, and reproductive health rights, are all human rights. There should be no hierarchy of rights. Sinn Féin will oppose attempts to bring this about.

"However, that responsibility must also be shared by all progressives.

"We are fully committed to defending the interests of working families and opposing the erosion of workers rights in the face of Brexit.

"We believe that these, alongside the direction of public investment and allocation of public housing on the basis of objective need, must be entrenched in any future Programme for Government. 

"This policy document is a statement of intent that Sinn Féin will bring forward future legislation on a new employment model, if a pathway to a rights based return to power sharing can be agreed." 

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