New Unite research reveals €76 drop in real weekly wages over past two years as workers face cost-of-living catastrophe 

New Unite bulletin launched to arm activists with facts to fight for a better deal.

On Dublin visit, Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham pledges union fightback.

May 4th: A new series of Unite research briefs – Work Voice Pay Ireland – will launch tomorrow, 4th May, to coincide with a visit by Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham to Ireland. 

The latest research, which is available for download here, shows that the real median wage in Ireland has fallen by €76 since the first quarter of 2021, from €976 per week to €900 per week. Workers have seen an average 4.2% annual drop in real pay in the last year.

The union research has confirmed that in the last year energy prices have risen by eye-watering amounts. Solid fuels (such as coal) have risen by nearly a third, electricity by nearly two-thirds. Compared with prices a year ago gas prices are now 86% higher. 

These figures or similar estimates are not new, but the new Work Voice Pay Ireland means activists have accurate statistics at their fingertips when determining pay claims and related issues.

It is anticipated that a number of energy companies in Ireland will record bonanza profits in 2023, after revenues rose by billions of euros. Unite believes that political promises of windfall tax legislation in Ireland need to be made real – that could mean that billions could be diverted to workers’ households in Ireland that are struggling desperately to make ends meet.

Speaking before meeting with Unite shop stewards in Dublin, Sharon Graham said:

“Unite members in Ireland see their budgets being stretched thinner each month, while there is no end in sight to the epidemic of rampant profiteering across the Irish economy.

“Since the start of 2021 Irish workers have seen their real weekly wages drop by nearly €80, and while big business makes bonanza profits ordinary families struggle to heat their homes and put food on the table.

“Unite’s new series of Work Voice Pay bulletins in Ireland will provide our reps and members with the tools they need to negotiate real pay increases.  And employers here need to be aware that we’re now organising the union so that it can fight for jobs, pay and conditions as never before”.

Beyond soaring energy bills, the Unite Work Voice Pay bulletin reveals how the exponential cost of food is a crucial element in the cost of living crisis confronting workers. The bulletin verifies that grocery price inflation is now at a new high of over 13%, year on year. The bulletin also shows the price of milk cheese and eggs is up by 20%, and meat and bread & cereals are up by 14%. Unite aims to build the union to win for workers in Ireland.

Susan Fitzgerald – the new Regional Secretary of Unite in Ireland – added:

“The new Work Voice Pay Ireland research briefing, which will be published regularly, provides an invaluable resource for Unite shop stewards.  This will form part of our fightback toolkit in the struggle to get workers a better deal by winning cost-of-living increases throughout the economy”.

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