General Secretary Patricia King said in response to Budget 2020, “with the threat of Brexit looming we are dismayed that there was no explicit reference to our proposals to minimise the impact of Brexit on thousands of jobs. We will continue to engage with Government to urge them to introduce measures that minimise the impact on workers and on particular sectors and regions”.
The General Secretary said “our proposals to support jobs and workers include a Short-Time Work Scheme involving unions and employers to preserve jobs in firms that are at risk, but which are viable in the long-run. This scheme would support workers’ income – and hence their spending – and enable them to retrain and upskill while they are on short-time work”.
On the housing crisis, Patricia King said, “Government is again ignoring the plight of homeless people “by continuing to rely on the private sector. It has not heeded Congress’ positive proposals for a local authority-led public housing construction programme”.
“We are also disappointed that the Government has, once again, failed to bring PRSI contributions for Class S contributors (i.e. self-employed) into line with the Social Welfare benefits they receive, whilst at the same time again raising the earned income tax credit – from €1,350 to €1,500. This will undermine the long-term sustainability of the Social Insurance Fund and further encourage bogus self-employment, which the Comptroller and Auditor General already estimate could cost the state €60m a year, and which Connect trade union puts at €300 million a year”.
On climate change, Patricia King said “we welcome the appointment of a Just Transition Commissioner, who will work with communities in the Midlands, though we will be seeking further details. The Minister for Finance claims that Government investment will support 500 environmentally sustainable jobs. However, Bord na Mona employs over 2,000 workers, so it appears the plan for Just Transition falls a long way short of this number, the scale of the challenge in relation to ESB and Bord na Mona will require massive investment”