January 25th: Eighteen years after signing up to the European Social Charter, working people are still paying the price for Ireland’s failure to live up to its legal obligations according to Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock. Mr Pollock was commenting on yesterday’s publication of a report by the European Committee of Social Rights which – among other significant failings – found inadequate levels of sickness, work injury and occupational diseases benefits.
“Ireland’s low level of income supports and inadequate provision with regard to public services such as health is the result of public policy.
“A worker’s total pay packet is divided into two parts: the part employers directly pay to employees, and the Social Wage – essentially, employer’s social insurance.
“Irish workers have one of the lowest social wages in the EU, so it’s no surprise that we are in breach of our European obligations when it comes to in-work supports and public services such as healthcare.
“Unite will continue making the case for an increase in employer’s PRSI to fund universal public services and in-work supports such as sickness benefit, as well as pay-related benefits such as unemployment and maternity benefit”, Jackie Pollock said.