Speaking this afternoon Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, said data and factual evidence blew away the anecdotal stories being floated in the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee that workers are abusing the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“For a number of weeks now Government politicians and business, aided by some in the media, have been spreading a false narrative that tens of thousands of workers receiving the PUP are living it up and refusing to return to work, without any hard data to back it up.
“At the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee today there were attempts to pass anecdotal stories off as hard evidence of workers abusing the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
“The reality is these claims are not supported by data. As the saying goes – everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
“Thankfully Dr Laura Bambrick of ICTU provided the Committee with data and factual evidence to set the record straight.
“During the month of May only 75 employers notified the Department of Social Protection that they are experiencing difficulties getting staff to return to work. Indeed, Dr Bambrick outlined that of these 75 case, once workers who have entered new employment, education, training, or have emigrated and are not claiming PUP are assessed and removed the number of workers under further investigation wouldn’t get a footnote in a newspaper, never mind the front page.
“The reality is hundreds of thousands of people have gone back to work since reopening began this year. Indeed, the Government’s own target of 100,000 workers going back to work last month was reached, while last summer over 400,000 workers willingly closed their PUP claim when the economy partially reopened.
“As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the number of people on the PUP falls naturally as people return to work in line with economic reopening and the success of that reopening.
“I would implore those in the media to take on board the data and evidence provided by ICTU, and others, regarding the PUP, and to also heed Dr Bambrick’s advice on the need for follow up questioning by those who are willing to take individual experiences and repeat it as if it is widespread.”