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Labour market critical in creating a more equal society - Quinlivan

2 June, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has called on the government to recognize the importance of the labour market in creating sustainable communities and addressing household poverty. Speaking during debate in the Dáil on sustainable jobs, Deputy Quinlivan said: 

“Any discussion about sustainable jobs must include a discussion of what constitutes a sustainable labour market.

“The labour market is critical when it comes to creating sustainable communities and in terms of the economic, social, and cultural wellbeing of the wider society.  

 “Ireland now has the dubious distinction of having the second highest number of low paid workers in the OECD.  Part-time workers make up a high percentage of those who are concentrated in low paid employment sectors which are characterized by exploitation and precarious work practices.

“Low pay is bad for workers, bad for the economy, bad for communities and bad for society. It puts enormous pressure on the state in terms of social transfers with the result that in 2015 alone the state spent a record €350m on subsidizing the income of thousands of families in low-paid work.

“Family Income Supplement and other social transfers top up employers’ profit margins and highlight the extent to which workers and their families are at risk of poverty.  The transfer of wealth from the state reproduces on a yearly basis huge profits for large companies who see nothing wrong with bullying and exploiting their workforce.

“In the retail sector Dunne’s Stores tops the league table for the company with the highest number of workers in receipt of FIS. Unsurprisingly Tesco, who is currently trying its best to rid the company of trade unions, is close behind in third position.

“Both companies are hugely profitable and can well afford to pay all workers a decent wage.

“Women represent 60% of all those in low paid employment which is very worrying.  

“Our goal as legislators must be the creation of sustainable communities and a decent society. In this respect how the labour market functions is of critical importance.

“On-going labour market restructuring is dramatically altering the life chances of a significant proportion of our population and it has a direct impact on the standard of living of households.

“I would therefore urge the Minister to look afresh at the many issues that go to make up a sustainable labour market as she begins work in her new portfolio.” 

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