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Government must become a living wage employer – Senator David Cullinane

12 January, 2016 - by David Cullinane TD

With state contracts being awarded to companies that don’t support the living wage, Senator David Cullinane has called on the government to become a living wage employer.

Senator Cullinane said:

“Low pay and in-work poverty have been consistently ignored by the government, despite the fact that this state has the second highest percentage of low paid jobs in the OECD. They are refusing to acknowledge that we have a low-pay problem, which is getting worse with wage inequality compounding greater social and economic inequality.  

“Sinn Féin has long called on the government to support the introduction of a living wage. A living wage would ensure that individuals and families have minimum acceptable living standards. However the government must lead by example and ensure that those employed by the state, either directly or indirectly, at both local and central level, are guaranteed decent work and a living wage.   

“A joint Oireachtas report on Low Pay, Decent Work, and a Living Wage published in November recommended that the state become a living wage employer and that payment of the living wage be mandatory in government procurement contracts. As rapporteur or the report, I outlined how we can ensure that every worker has a living wage which  allows them to live with dignity.

“Despite government spin and promises desperately doled out the past few weeks, the fact remains that the government has failed to tackle low pay and precarious work. Labour and Fine Gael did not deliver for low-paid workers in the past five years and it is highly unlikely that either party will seriously tackle the issue if elected into government in the coming months.” 

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