Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has called on Government politicians to stop smearing workers on Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“There’s been a concerted attempt by government politicians, and some in the business community, to slash the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) for workers. This is on the basis of some fanciful idea that tens of thousands of workers receiving the payment are living it up and refusing to return to work.
“There are many issues as to why some roles in certain sectors remain unable to be filled. Some workers have left to work in places that are opening up quicker where cafes, restaurants, and pubs are fully open.
“Many, I am told, particularly those who previously worked in the hospitality sector, have taken up new roles in customer services due to their transferable skills. Some have moved into the health and caring sector, and others have went back to education or are reskilling.
“Some of these roles are clearly offering better pay and conditions, and therefore it is unsurprising workers have decided to take their careers in that direction.
“It is a lazy and predictable argument that those on social welfare payments are gaming the system, and unsurprisingly Fine Gael are leading the charge with these claims.
“There are long standing and well-working mechanisms in place to detect, and counter, social welfare fraud.
“It would serve the Government better to roll out the vaccine so we can get our economy reopened and working again, like in the north of Ireland and Britain, instead of demonising workers in an attempt to slash PUP supports.
“As US President Joe Biden said yesterday, we want to see employers compete to attract workers instead of workers competing with each other for jobs; this will benefit workers, increase wages, and deliver better conditions.”