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Wage Agreement once again fails low paid - Morgan

5 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Workers Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said the National Wage Agreement is "totally unacceptable and found wanting on every level." Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Morgan the greatest flaw in the new partnership deal is that it fails the low paid.

He said, "Sinn Féin has been critical of the social partnership process to date. The two major demonstrable outcomes of Social Partnership are its manifest failure to stop a trend towards increasing inequality -- much less to reduce or eliminate inequality -- and a decline in trade union membership amongst workers.

"The new social partnership deal is not underpinned by an objective of bringing about a fairer distribution of wealth. It greatest flaw is that like its predecessors it fails the low paid.

"While I welcome the fact that it includes measures to improve enforcement of labour law it was outrageous that trade unions were forced to bargain for the right of workers to be free from exploitation -- that vulnerable workers to have had to await the outcome of a social partnership deal before seeing their existing rights enforced. Proper enforcement of existing labour law should not be seen as a concession to unions or used as a bargaining chip in negotiations. This -- the requirement for workers to bargain for basic rights and entitlements -- is, along with the democratic deficit created by the process taking precedence over the Dáil, among the fundamentals defects of the social partnership process.

"A deal such as this has to deemed "inadequate" when the wage increases that have been conceded amount to a mere 10% over 27 months. This pay-rise barely even covers the rate of inflation. Irish inflation levels are already soaring as significantly higher than the EU average of 2.2% at 3.9%.

"On the whole the deal as it stands is completely unacceptable and found wanting on every level." ENDS

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