Real wage reductions remain serious issue for workers
- Historically low unemployment rate must not dupe Government into false assurances about working conditions.
Labour Party spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Marie Sherlock has said news today that Ireland has recorded the lowest ever level of unemployment must not dupe Government into false sense of assurance about working conditions in this country.
Senator Sherlock said:
“While nominal wages have risen across most sectors of the economy, the reality is that the vast majority of workers are experiencing real wage reductions.
“Over the past four quarters, real wages fell in every single sector, bar the ICT and the mining and quarrying sector, raising very serious issues for living standards for workers on ordinary incomes in this country. Indeed, those working in the arts, entertainment and leisure sector and those in the administrative support sector experienced an actual cut to their weekly wage.
“Even with the reduction in overall inflation levels published today, core inflation has surged ahead and it is the lowest paid workers who are bearing the brunt of this the most.
“Pay for managers and professionals rose by 5% last year while production, transport, manual, clerical, sales and service workers only saw their weekly earnings rise by 3%.
“For those facing shocking increases in their grocery bills and utility bills, there is an enormous difference between the gross weekly increase between the €70.66 extra received on average by managers and professionals vs the €16.83 that clerical, sales and service workers, on average, got.
“With corporate profits reaching almost €300bn in Ireland last year and up 30% on an annual basis, there are companies in this country bolstering their own cash reserves and dividends at the expense of ensuring that workers can survive a cost of living crisis, some of which has been driven by companies’ own profiteering.
“All this points to a very real need for Government to support the wages of low and middle income workers.
“It is vital that the National Minimum wage is raised above inflation benefitting not only the 166,000 workers on the minimum wage but the hundreds of thousands who earn just above it.
“There is an immediate onus on Government to ensure that the VAT reduction to the hospitality sector comes with conditions to ensure that employers come to the table of the wage and working condition structure of the Joint Labour Committee.
“Most crucially, Government must use the €18.5bn budget that it spends years procuring goods, services and works in this country to ensure that each supplier pays a decent and collectively bargained wage.”