Press Release

SIPTU warns Economic Recovery Plan falls short due to lack of worker participation

Date Released: 02 June 2021

SIPTU has warned that the Economic Recovery Plan, published by the Government yesterday (Tuesday, 1st June), does not establish the foundation for a full economic recovery due to its failure to include workers in key decisions concerning their workplaces.

SIPTU Researcher, Michael Taft, said: “The massive subsidies to businesses, while necessary, will not maximise the gains to the economy unless they are made conditional on employers negotiating with their employees. In too many sectors workers have no say over how these subsidies will be spent and have little say over their wages and working conditions.

“Even before the pandemic Ireland had one of the highest rates of low pay in the EU. Deprivation among those in work was back on the rise. There is a danger that these trends could be exacerbated coming out of lockdown.”

“In several sectors, employers are demanding massive state subsidies but are refusing to participate in the state’s industrial relations institutions. They boycott Joint Labour Councils.  They refuse to negotiate collectively with employees. These state subsidies should be contingent upon a Decent Work agenda. Otherwise, the Government will be subsidising a low-road business model. 

“A major disappointment is the failure to establish, as was promised in the Programme for Government, sectoral committees made up of representatives of employees and employers. These committees would enable stakeholders in such economic sectors as hospitality, transport, meat processing, retail, and finance to plan for the future and agree strategies to meet challenges such as climate change, low pay and precarious work.

“While SIPTU welcomes recent government initiatives such as the High Level Committee on Collective Bargaining and the commitment to the Living Wage, it is deeply concerning that this same government is attempting to veto an EU Directive on minimum wages and collective bargaining.”  

He added: “The winding down of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will penalise workers who can’t return to work due to a lack of jobs or the continued impact of the pandemic. It would seem that this unacceptable strategy is both a cost-saving exercise at workers’ expense and a crude attempt to force people into low-paid and precarious work.”

“The Government can begin to address these issues by establishing the promised sectoral committees, ending its opposition to the EU directive on minimum wages, and introducing a new and enhanced pay-related unemployment payment to replace the PUP in the next budget.” 


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