Siptu calls for pay rise for low-paid workers in line with inflation

ireland
Siptu Calls For Pay Rise For Low-Paid Workers In Line With Inflation Siptu Calls For Pay Rise For Low-Paid Workers In Line With Inflation
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Vivienne Clarke

Siptu has called on the Government to “step up” and protect the rights of low-paid workers, ensuring they get pay rises in line with inflation.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Siptu deputy general secretary Gerry McCormack said that the trade union would protect the income of its members, many of whom were going to be badly hit by inflation.

"Rip-off Ireland" had returned and the increase in the cost of products and services was a result of people “taking advantage,” he said. That was what was driving inflation, not increased wage demands.

Pay awards were running at three and a half to four per cent, while inflation was running at five per cent, pointed out Mr McCormack. However, he acknowledged there were many sectors that were experiencing difficulty such as hospitality.

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We need the Government to step up

Siptu had advised officials currently in negotiations to seek increases linked to inflation and they will address existing agreements, although it was “extremely difficult” to make changes once deals had been made, he added.

There were “a lot of workers” who should have legally-binding agreements, but did not because employers had refused, he said. Some pay increases that were due two years ago had not materialised and those workers are being badly hit by inflation, he said.

“We need the Government to step up.”

Collective bargaining

Earlier in a press release, Mr McCormack had criticised the Tánaiste and Minister Employment Leo Varadkar for co-signing a letter which “undermines the right of workers in Ireland to collective bargaining.”

In the letter, ministers of several countries challenged a draft directive by the EU Commission which would make it legally binding on member states to introduce the right to collective bargaining and ensure fairer wages and conditions of work.

The letter asked that the proposal be a recommendation, rather than a legally-binding directive.

“The position taken by the Irish Government is not surprising given its past record, particularly when it comes to the issue of the right of workers to collectively bargain,” Mr McCormack said.

He said that if the proposals were “just recommendations” they would be “absolutely useless” for workers in Ireland.

“The three parties in Government have a track record of supporting employer’s interests above those of workers and this is just another disgraceful example of this. The draft directive would require member states to bring collective bargaining coverage up to a minimum of 70 per cent of the workforce. The EU average is 65 per cent. In Ireland it is around 40 per cent.

"Some of the states that have signed this letter have decent collective bargaining regimes. Others do not, including in this country.

“Our system is weak and imbalanced and does not protect the interests of working people. A recommendation rather than a legally-binding directive by the EU Commission would be of no use to workers in Ireland.”

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