People Before Profit wants to arrest this decline. As socialists, we support strong trade unions and worker’s organisations fighting to deliver well paid and secure employment. Whether you are working part-time or full time, temporary or permanent, you should have the same legal rights – so that working conditions are not driven down. Unions also need to modernize, becoming more democratic and more combative to arrest the worrying decline in union density. Workers should have a guaranteed right to be represented by any union of their choosing and union officials should be able to enter a workplace at least once a year to put the case for why people should join. When 20 percent of the workers join a union, they should have a right to collectively bargain with their employer through their chosen union. Finally we would restore tax relief for trade union subs.
Public Sector Workers
Public sector workers suffered several pay cuts and reductions in their terms and conditions during the economic crisis. Since 2013, Ireland has been in recovery, but emergency legislation is still being used to hold down public sector pay. In office, People Before Profit would immediately end pay apartheid which sees new entrants paid less than their more experienced counterparts. We would also repeal the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation.
For too long the law has been on the side on employers. Trade union laws have been watered down resulting in stagnant wages and increased employee insecurity.
In office PBP would pass legislation to:
- End the gender pay gap. It is completely unacceptable that women are paid less than men for doing the same work. This in-built sexism needs to be weeded out through legislation and cultural changes.
- Reinforce the ban on zero hour contracts. Workers should have the right to a guaranteed number of hours per week.
- Legislate for four extra holidays a year. With an annual right to 29 days holidays, workers in Ireland have one of the lowest entitlements in Europe. We would increase the legal right to holidays and give workers a statutory right to bereavement leave.
- Raise the minimum wage to the living age. A living wage is calculated on what one needs for a socially acceptable standard of living. It amounts to €11.70 an hour.
- Ban unpaid internships. These are used to exploit and dash the hopes of the young. They are also a free subsidy to businesses who get cheap labour.
- Bring labour agencies back into the public sector. End the practice of giving a bounty to private companies who force social welfare recipients to take up unsuitable jobs.
- Reform the Insolvency Act and Companies Act. Workers should not be at the back of the queue. They should get the payments they are entitled to in redundancy situations.
- Introduce maximum 8:1 pay ratios in the public sector. Only award state contracts to private firms who adhere to this.
- Change Industrial Relations Legislation. Stop companies taking out injunctions against workers and give workers a right to express solidarity.
- End Jobpath and stop Seetec and Turas Nua profiting from the unemployed.