Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said two contrasting reports in the last 24-hours “tell you all you need to know about post-pandemic Ireland”.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Yesterday afternoon the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published research which outlined that nearly a quarter of people in full-time employment are struggling to make ends meet, while part time workers found meeting the cost of living nearly twice as hard.
“The CSO’s Personal and Work-Life Balance Survey 2021 is relaying the facts on the ground – workers and families are struggling to live.
“Workers are struggling with the cost of existing, not just living. The cost of a roof over your head, the cost of food, and the cost of heating your home – these are costs just to exist in this world, and people all over this island are struggling to afford these.
“In what decent society does a worker, a parent, a pensioner, a person with a disability, a student, anybody for that matter, have to choose between food and heat.
“It is fair to say the collective solidarity that existed during the pandemic has dissipated, and it is back to business as usual. Forget about mantras like build back better, despite some tinkering around the edges, things are being built back worse than before the pandemic.
“Indeed, today’s report from the Ireland Stock Exchange (ISEQ) Index that Chief Executive’s pay last year jumped to almost double pre-Covid levels is an indication that we are no longer ‘all in this together’, and it is doubtful if we were ever were.
“These pay-hikes are in line with broader international trends which saw the pay gap between bosses and workers widen last year. This all comes at a time when workers, families, and households are trying to navigate the ever-increasing cost of living.
“Unless the scales are balanced and workers are given the power to negotiate on a level playing field with their bosses, through collective rights bargaining for their Trade Unions, then this pay-gap will continue to widen, and even more workers will struggle.
“Decent pay and conditions, a Living Wage for all workers, collective bargaining rights for Trade Unions, and properly resourced and funded public services, such as housing, healthcare, education, transport, and childcare are the only way to overcome these gross inequalities.”