Unite will initiate a campaign to raise wages and maintain workers’ income through industrial action
July 8th: Speaking from the ICTU Biennial Delegates Conference in Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland Secretary for Unite, Jimmy Kelly, expressed his union’s determination to meet the challenges posed by the anti-worker budget introduced by Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne:
“As was expected, this budget was a harsh blow to workers. The downward revision of growth forecasts and slippage on the date by which budgetary surplus will be achieved expose the failure of the Government’s austerity policies. Instead of policies reducing economic demand historically low interest rates offer Government a golden opportunity to borrow to invest in critical infrastructural projects which would stimulate growth and facilitate a transition to a low-carbon, modern economy.
“While he could find the money to lower taxes for corporations, Mr Osborne considered it necessary to scrap maintenance grants for students coming from the poorest households. If adopted by the Northern Ireland Executive, this move would effectively shut out many working class children from university education despite their meeting the entry grade requirements.
“Moves to lower the tax credit earnings threshold and increase the discount factor substantially will result in a dramatic loss of income for millions of working families across the UK. Tax credits have lifted tens of thousands of children out of poverty. Inevitably, this will result in a step-change in the incidence of childhood poverty.
“Cuts to tax credits will be implemented automatically in Northern Ireland through the UK-wide HMRC system. It will be a devastating blow to those households who rely on tax credits to make ends meet.
“Proposals for the adoption of a ‘Living Wage’ of £9 per hour by 2020 fall far short of making up for these cuts. Trade unions must now redouble their efforts in building industrial campaigns to compensate working people for the loss of income. Now, more than ever, workers need to join a union to secure their incomes and futures. In our unity there is strength”, Mr Kelly concluded.