Budget 2009 could also affect national wage deal
Mandate also call on the Minister to introduce an income threshold to shelter lower income families from the income levy.
Mandate trade union, which represents over 50,000 low paid workers in the retail sector say they are disappointed by yesterday’s budget and say it could have an adverse affect on whether the national wage agreement is accepted.
John Douglas, General Secretary of Mandate claimed that the income levy coupled with VAT and hospital charge increases makes it very difficult to see how the Minister can claim to have protected the most vulnerable in society in Budget 2009.
“How can the Minister and members of Government claim that this is an equitable budget when low paid workers are having to pay a one percent levy on their earnings while the budget still allows high earners to claim up to 41 percent of their private pension contributions back in tax refunds? Low earners, who were already out of the tax net before the budget, still cannot claim any tax refunds from pensions, healthcare or indeed trade union contributions because this new tax is a levy.
“The income levy for all workers, including those on the minimum wage, is an unnecessary burden on some of the most vulnerable members of society. Government should have included a threshold which could have protected those earning below average industrial earnings.
“The Minister through this one percent income levy has put his hand in the pockets of low paid workers to eliminate the meager half a percent increase negotiated in the national wage agreement intended to protect low earners.
“Once again this Government has missed an opportunity to create a fairer society and displayed a total lack of understanding of the plight of low paid workers and their families.”
Mandate who have conditionally recommended the national wage agreement to their members are now concerned for the future of the wage agreement.