Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said the available data does not point to staff shortages due to workers 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 narrative that tens of thousands of workers receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) are living it up and refusing to return to work.
“Over the weekend political commentators, politicians, and businesses ramped up these claims. 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.
“In recent weeks only 75 employers have notified the Department of Social Protection that they are experiencing difficulties getting staff to return to work.
“The reality is over 100,000 people have gone back to work since reopening began this year. Indeed, as Dr Laura Bambrick of ICTU outlined, last summer over 400,000 workers willingly closed their PUP claim when the economy partially reopened.
“Those in receipt of the PUP are workers who saw their workplace closed because of the public health restrictions introduced by the Government to tackle Covid-19, therefore it is unacceptable for these same politicians to now come out accuse them of not wanting to return to work.
“As is ever the case, Fine Gael have been to the forefront of these lazy and predictable accusations, but their agenda is clear – create division and confusion and cut the PUP.
“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.
“However, not everyone will be able to be back in work by September due to restrictions, so to cut the PUP based on dates and not data is foolish in the extreme.
“It would serve the Government better to expediate the vaccine roll out and introduce the necessary economic supports to get society and the economy reopened instead of demonising workers and cutting PUP supports.”