Unite releases ‘Economic Manifesto’ ahead of General Election

unite-white-out-of-redUnion identifies investment and wage-led growth among priorities for next Government

A ‘Democratic Recovery’ must ensure fruits of upturn are shared equally

Proposals include Emergency Housing Investment Programme funded from bank bailout repayments

January 28th: Trade union Unite today issued its ‘economic manifesto’ ahead of the forthcoming General Election. Entitled Towards a Democratic Recovery for All, the document – which is being circulated to all Oireachtas members and political parties – identifies five key proposals aimed at aimed at reversing the trend towards outsourcing and insecurity and generating a ‘democratic recovery’. The proposals focus on the areas of investment, wage-led growth, public services and the social wage, enterprise and housing. The document is available for download here.

Commenting, Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“As we head into a General Election, voters are being bombarded with competing tax cut pledges coupled with promises to increase spending – notwithstanding the fact that the former cancels out the latter. However, there is limited debate about the kind of recovery needed to lay the foundations for a shared and sustainable prosperity.

“Instead, the parties of the Right are intent on sleepwalking us back to the low-tax, low-spend, low-service and low-wage model which characterised the failed Celtic Tiger model. This will entail ongoing privatisation of our public sphere, including water service provision.

“Unite’s proposals are focused on achieving a democratic recovery:

“They include a phased increase in Employers’ PRSI to reach the European average. This would be used to enable workers to access income supports and public services either for free or at below market rates, and would start the process of providing Irish workers with the ‘Social Wage’ enjoyed by their counterparts in other European countries. Examples of such supports and services include pay-related unemployment and sickness benefits, subsidised prescription medicine and full dental services.

“The latest estimates are that 130,000 people are currently on housing waiting lists. This is a social and economic emergency by any standards, which is why Unite is also proposing an Emergency Housing Investment Programme funded from the anticipated €4 billion in bank bailout repayments due this year.  Unite argues that this should be used to eliminate homelessness, provide housing for people on the waiting list and roll-out affordable rental accommodation for low-paid workers. While this would have to be negotiated with the EU Commission, as a once-off investment programme it would have no impact on the structural deficit.

“These are just two of the proposals being put forward by Unite as we head into the first post-crisis election – an election which, if progressives unite, might finally break the conservative stranglehold on Irish politics and pave the way for a real democratic recovery”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.

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