People Before Profit launch Decent Jobs: Employment and Labour Rights Manifesto
State must play a role in creating jobs
People Before Profit held a press conference this morning launching their Decent Jobs: Employment and Labour Rights Manifesto. Attending the launch were Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Cllr Bríd Smith and Cllr John Lyons.
Richard Boyd Barrett said- “The current government are claiming that there is a recovery underway. What they are conveniently forgetting is the deterioration of wages and conditions of workers and the neutering of union representation since the Celtic Tiger. Under the guise of competitiveness we are seeing a race to the bottom. This is making life unaffordable for workers through the cost of accommodation and regressive charges like property tax and water charges.
“Many workers in Ireland today find themselves in precarious and low paid jobs. New teachers for example spend an average of seven years on insecure contracts before being made permanent. There is also policy, directly endorsed by the government, of age discrimination. New entrants to the public sector are paid less than those starting before January 2011.
“We have also seen Ireland become one of the standard bearers of low wage economies. In 2014 the OECD reported Ireland as having the second highest level of low-paying jobs; second only to the US.
“People Before Profit propose a different vision for our economy and our workers. Increased pay is what is needed for workers which in turn will boost the economy.
“We believe in strong unions that are based on empowering the grassroots. The political control of unions like SIPTU by the Labour Party must end. We have proposed a number of measures that we feel will empower the unions to make effective representation for their members.
“We feel that a fairer recovery is possible. The recovery that is being boasted about by the current government is not being felt by the vast majority of our population. A recovery based on low wages, the casualisation of labour, precarious contracts and substandard conditions is not a real recovery. We are campaigning for a recovery for the 99%- those who got sold out by this government and the previous Fianna Fail-Green Party government. We are calling and end to the exploitative JobsBridge scheme and other similar models which make young people work for free with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. We believe that work must pay.”
Bríd Smith said- “The Labour Party in 2011 was elected on a mandate to protect workers from the worst aspects of Fine Gael. This was a lie. The Labour Party entered government, immediately rolled back on all their promises and acted as cheerleaders for Fine Gael and EU austerity.
“This election will be the reckoning for the Labour Party. There are hundreds of thousands of workers in this State who have been let down and frankly lied to by Labour. People Before Profit are calling for the electorate to give Labour a kicking via the ballot box on election day as pay back for their treachery”.
John Lyons said- “We are calling for the increased power for the unions so that they can effectively represent their members and all other workers in our society. We are also calling for the unions to be empowered by their grassroots.
“The establishment parties have made an ideological stand by saying that the State cannot be a job creator. We disagree completely with this. We feel that the State can create jobs. The State can restore many of the 40,000 jobs that were slashed since the Celtic Tiger. It can create 5,000 jobs in the area of the Arts, 10,000 nurses so that our health system can start to operate effectively and forestry and environmental jobs, for example.
“In regards to small businesses, we propose a system where rates would be charged based on profitability rather than the size of the premises. The current system that the government advocate is pushing many of our small businesses out of business.”
People Before Profit propose a number of measures to empower the unions to uphold the rights of their members:
- Zero hours and low hours contracts must be abolished
- Part-time workers should be given a right to extra hours, should they become available
- Remove the effective veto of the employers on the JLCs
- Give workers the right to overtime payments and Sunday premiums
- Unions who gain 20% membership in a workplace should have an automatic right to collective bargaining with employers
- Practice of employers splitting companies into property assets company and operating company to deprive workers of redundancy should be outlawed
- Workers in insolvent companies should have first call on redundancy settlements
- Full rights for workers to take industrial action and abolish Industrial Relations Act which bans strikes for victimised shop stewards and political strikes
- Abolish FEMPI legislation
- Retirement age to 65
- Ban bogus self employment in all sectors including construction
- Provide self employed people with equal social welfare and pension rights as PAYE workers
- Move towards a living wage
- Make employers pay full wage as maternity benefit and ensure proper sickness schemes
- State to create more jobs
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