Saturday 24 March 2018

Wage cut supporters to be 'named and shamed'

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

THE trade union movement will 'name and shame' TDs who vote to slash the minimum wage.

Union umbrella body, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), has revealed it will write to its 600,000 members listing the names of TDs who back a €1 cut in the €8.65-an-hour rate.

It has also written to TDs dismissing claims by Environment Minister John Gormley that the IMF and the EU made a cut in the rate a precondition of the €85bn bailout.

ICTU general secretary David Begg said some TDs wrongfully believed the cut was proposed by bailout officials. He dismissed government claims that the cut was in the national interest as "guff".

At a press conference yesterday, the union leaders circulated the transcript of a recent interview with chief IMF negotiator Ajai 'Chopper' Chopra.

In the RTE interview, Mr Chopra said his delegation did not propose the minimum wage cut and it was "not a condition for any dispersal" of funds.

Although most workers on the minimum rate are not union members, ICTU said a campaign against the proposed cut was its "immediate priority".

"We will overturn this, however long it takes us to do it," vowed Mr Begg.

He said there was no fiscal or economic reason to cut the minimum wage and it was being done solely so employers could put an extra €40 a week per worker into their pockets.

"The national interest stuff is a load of guff in relation to this provision," he said. "It was a political choice and very deliberately made."

The union leaders described the Budget as a "masochistic" exercise. They claimed the €6bn in cuts could have been "stretched out" as the IMF and EU had agreed to extend the deadline to reduce the deficit by a year.


In its pre-Budget submission, ICTU called for the period of adjustment to cut the deficit to 3pc of GDP to be extended to 2017.

It proposed measures to focus on jobs and growth, including using up to €6bn of the National Pension Reserve Fund to create jobs, extending the income levy to corporate profits, and a temporary wealth tax on those with assets over €2m.

When questioned about calling a national strike, ICTU president Jack O'Connor admitted it was not going to be possible "to do anything with the current administration" as it had "nailed its colours to the mast".

Irish Independent

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