ICTU responses to July Stimulus Package

24 Jul 2020

Patricia King Just Transition Conference

Responding to the details of the Government’s July stimulus package, Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary, Patricia King said:

“As we transition to this stimulus phase, the length and depth of the recession will be determined to a very large extent by the policy priorities unveiled today, and the devil will be in the detail.

ICTU and the trade union movement have made a substantial contribution towards shaping many of the measures implemented by the last Government to control the spread of  the Covid-19 virus and to offset the consequences for households and businesses.

“Direct government grants to businesses, in the order of billions of €’s  must be conditional on a commitment by them to decent work and to retaining their workforce. We must end the scourge of low pay and precarious work and no longer tolerate bogus self-employment that pervades the sectors hardest hit.  The race to the bottom must end.

 Business supports paid out of public money must be linked to full and active participation in national industrial relations machinery: vetoes and opt-outs for statutory bodies such as JLCs are not tenable . We must vindicate the rights of workers by ensuring their voice is heard through access to collective bargaining.

It is essential that adequate measures are put in place to monitor the expenditure of public funds through the establishment of Stakeholder  Oversight Groups accountable to the Government.

“The introduction of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), as proposed by ICTU in early March, now to be known as  the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, has served to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on employment. This should be extended and transformed into a genuine short-time work scheme modelled on the most effective schemes in place in other European countries.  ICTU has advocated this approach since early 2019 in our Brexit response discussions with government officials and Ministers .  Such a scheme can serve to protect workers’ income, greatly enhance their access to upskilling and maintain a continuous connection to their employer.

“The  decision to pay a flat €350 to every worker laid off by the COVID-19 lockdown by the Government correctly prioritised speed and adequacy for half a million workers .  Given  the proposed roadmap for the withdrawal of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), there is now more than ever an urgent need to transition all  laid off workers from the PUP onto the TWSS to protect their income . If employers are unwilling to maintain the link with their workers they equally cannot be allowed to continue to have the protection of the freeze on redundancy rights”.  Incentives for Apprenticeship training is a positive development which has been consistently advocated by Congress over many years.

 

ENDS

 

Conor Kavanagh
Congress Communications Office
086 811 6607 /
conor.kavanagh@ictu.ie