PRESS RELEASE: 10 October 2012
Participants in The Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid were pictured in front of the statue of renowned trade union organiser, James Connolly, in Dublin today (10th October), before meeting in Liberty Hall to discuss the central importance of decent jobs to economic recovery.
The campaigners, trade unionists and migrant worker activists are part of a broad-based coalition which has come together to defend the pay and conditions of thousands of the lowest paid workers in Ireland such as cleaners, hotel and restaurant workers, security guards, farm labourers and shop workers.
Mandate General Secretary, John Douglas, said: “Ireland’s unemployment crisis will not be solved with a more jobs at any cost strategy. We need to look at the quality of jobs that are being created otherwise we will just increase the number of underemployed and working poor people. The clear message is that decent work with good wages and working hours is vital for a better future for all Irish people.”
The Director Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Siobhan O’Donoghue, said: “The work that many migrant workers do, such as care work and service provision, plays an essential part in the economic and social development of this country. These workers need to be valued and have access to decent standards, protections and opportunities to progress.”
Among the migrant workers attending the meeting was contract cleaner Ineta Kondrota, who is originally from Latvia.
She said: “It is important all workers are employed in jobs with decent wages and terms and conditions. If some workers are treated unfairly it means it is easier to treat all workers that way.”
SIPTU Campaigns and Equality Organiser, Ethel Buckley, said the emphasis must be on creating decent jobs which will allow workers to play their full part in revitalising the wider economy.
“Decent jobs mean that workers earn enough to play a full role in society. Their spending will help growth in other sectors of the economy resulting in general economic improvement. The creation of such a virtuous circle is only possible if Government places the creation of decent jobs for all workers at the centre of its policies. SIPTU has recently launched its own 12 point plant which outlines how such a worker led economic recovery can be brought about.”
The Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid is made up of workers, trade unions and community organisations including SIPTU, Mandate, Communications Workers’ Union, UNITE, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Poor Can’t Pay Campaign, Community Platform, the European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland and the National Women’s Council.