We want pay rises not tax cuts says union
THE union representing almost 59,000 of the country's public servants has rejected tax cuts as an alternative to pay increases.
IMPACT president Kevin O'Malley said tax cuts would leave taxpayers subsidising low-paying but profitable employers and would lead to more cuts in public services.
He said income restoration was IMPACT's first priority after six years in which living standards had been "battered".
Several government ministers as well as Taoiseach Enda Kenny have signalled that tax cuts are high on the list of priorities for the coming Budget.
But unions have been pushing for wage increases instead, and that message was delivered by IMPACT again last night.
Addressing 700 delegates at its biennial conference in Killarney, Co Kerry, Mr O'Malley said: "You cannot restore living standards without restoring incomes, and that means pay."
He said the insistence of employers' organisations that pay must remain static while taxes fell meant that working people would have to trade any sort of income recovery for worse public services.
He claimed this would also mean profitable companies could continue to "exploit" the benefit system to support minimum wage and zero-hour contracts.
"That is not acceptable to us and it should not be acceptable to the politicians who run the country," he added.
Last year, almost 90,000 workers were in receipt of jobseekers' benefits because of low pay or few working hours.
Tanaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is due to address the conference tomorrow morning.