Budget misses opportunity to tackle exploitation and low pay

October 13th: Unite, which represents workers throughout the economy, has said that yesterday’s Budget is “not a Budget for Ireland’s low-paid workers”, yet again failing to address workers’ rights and offering nothing to low-paid and precarious workers. 

Commenting, Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said:

“One in in five workers in Ireland is low-paid, including over half of those working in the hospitality sectors. The 30 cent increase in the Minimum Wage will be quickly cancelled out by inflation and the high costs of rents across the country.

“We need to see a significant move towards a Living Wage to tackle in-work poverty, but there has been no indication of a commitment to that in this budget.  

Richie Browne added: “In the face of rising inflation, with increased fuel and living costs, the government’s tax-cutting strategy will have little impact on those who are struggling financially but will undermine our ability to inject much-needed investment into public services like health, education and childcare”.

Unite’s Hospitality Coordinator Julia Marciniak, who is due to give evidence at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism today, said:

“The government continues to subsidise business through tax cuts and, in the case of the hospitality sector, a 9% VAT rate, while providing little security for workers’ incomes. Some sectors are overly reliant on low pay, part-time workers and short hour contracts. This means that workers have no security in respect of their weekly income.  An hourly increase of 30 cents is of little comfort when you are under-employed, or when you have to pay an average of €1,400 in rent.

“Workers’ rights are violated regularly in the hospitality sector in terms of their right to breaks, overtime rates, holiday pay and sick pay, and tip theft by employers is still taking place.  There is no indication from this government that they take these issues seriously.   This was not a Budget for low-paid workers, but instead represents another missed opportunity to tackle low pay and exploitation”, Ms Marciniak concluded.

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