Retaining workers in employment will protect individuals, families and business
Government must take further measures on housing costs to protect living standards
March 30th: Following the Government’s effective closure of non-essential construction sites, trade union Unite – which represents construction workers throughout Ireland – has urged employers to engage with the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and to top up payments so as to protect workers’ incomes. The union has also reminded employers that the scheme allows for workers laid off as a result of COVID-19 to be re-hired and covered by the scheme.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald said the union has already contacted individual employers in the sector and will be engaging with others in the days ahead to ensure that as many workers as possible are retained in employment and their incomes protected:
“Under the terms of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Government will pay relevant employers 70 per cent of a workers’ salary (after tax) – up to maximum of €410 per week – in respect of workers who would otherwise have been laid off. This payment, which employers may top up, is intended to ensure that workers retain their link with employers.
“The scheme is simple and easily accessed, and employers will be reimbursed within two working days, negating any concerns around cashflow.
“Employees laid off as a result of COVID-19 can be also taken back onto the payroll and will qualify for the subsidy.
“Unite is urging employers to avail of the subsidy and to top up the payment to workers’ full net income. As well as protecting individual workers and their families, retaining skilled workers will ensure that the construction sector can restart quickly once the current emergency is over.
“Protecting workers living standards during this emergency is not only about wages. Unite is calling on the government to take more action on housing costs, including a legally-binding moratorium on rent and mortgage payments for those whose incomes have been impacted by COVID-19. Banks and investors must not be allowed to profit further from the emergency.
“We will continue engaging with both employers and government to ensure that workers’ incomes are protected to the maximum extent possible during this emergency”, Mr Fitzgerald concluded.