ICTU response to National Resilience and Recovery Plan

1 Jun 2021

workers at dusk

Responding to the details of the Government’s National Resilience and Recovery Plan, Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary, Patricia King said:

“Like no other crisis before it, the coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to our economy. The pace and nature of the recovery will be determined to a very large extent by the policy priorities unveiled today, and the devil will be in the detail.

“Direct government grants to businesses, in the order of billions of Euros, 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.”

Ms King added: “That Government are further suspending workers redundancy rights on the same day they are telling workers their income supports are being withdrawn is grossly anomalous and deeply unfair. If employers are unwilling to maintain the link with their workers through the wage subsidy scheme, they equally cannot be allowed to continue to have the protection of the freeze on redundancy rights.”

She said “The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) has proved integral to maintaining workers’ income and, hence, consumer demand and social solidarity throughout the public health emergency. When and how the PUP is withdrawn must be based on concrete evidence and not on baseless claims from a handful of employers that workers do not want to return to their jobs. Government’s own target of 100,000 workers going back to work in May has been reached and our vacancy rate is on a per capita footing with the UK and US, where no PUP equivalent payment exists.”

“Government correctly recognises the need for additional supports for businesses in sectors that will struggle to recover relatively quickly. The same degree of understanding must be extended to workers who remained locked out of their jobs by continued public health restrictions from September onwards” she said.

“It took a pandemic to shed light on the big failings in how we protect workers’ living standards against a temporary loss of earnings. Congress is calling for radical reform of our social safety net in the form of a shift away from our meagre flat-rated income supports to pay-related benefits and comprehensive universal public services, in line with EU norms. We will be working to ensure Government delivers on today’s commitment to building back better.”