Mandate Trade Union, representing almost 30,000 workers in the retail, bar and administrative sectors says Budget 2022 should increase the minimum wage to a Living Wage of €14 per hour and enable workers to access more hours at work.
The Union has also called for the removal of sub-minimum rates of the minimum wage, the reduction in public transport fares of 50% and a reduction in childcare fees of 50%.
Launching Mandate’s Pre-Budget submission today, Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary Jonathan Hogan said:
“Our members are being squeezed very hard right now between low wages and a high cost of living. The only viable solution is to increase incomes and reduce the cost of essential services workers rely on.”
Mandate’s pre-Budget submission calls on the government to address three key themes including:
Mr Hogan explained: “To ensure our most vulnerable workers have an adequate income, we need the government to increase the National Minimum Wage to a Living Wage, which we believe is €14 per hour (based on last year’s €12.90 plus inflation). We should also enable workers to improve their own wages directly with their employer and the best way to do this is through enhanced collective bargaining rights.”
He continued: “Increasing the hourly rate of pay for a worker is irrelevant if their employer cuts their hours or refuses to give that worker extra hours.”
Mandate has been calling on the government to transpose the EU’s Part Time Worker Directive for almost 10 years now, and if it did, vulnerable low paid workers would have the ability to increase their incomes through more hours.
Hogan added: “If the government allowed trade unions to do their jobs by improving collective bargaining rights, allowing access for unions in the workplace and reforming the 1990 Industrial Relations Act to prevent victimisation of workers, then workers could win their own pay increases in profitable enterprises which would help them through this cost of living crisis.”
“Two years ago our members who are essential workers were being hailed, quite rightly, as heroes for putting their health at risk during the pandemic. Now it appears normal service has resumed, where retail and other essential workers are expected to survive on low wages with inadequate social services and sub-standard trade union rights. This is simply not good enough.”
Mandate emphasised the need for a new housing policy in its pre-Budget submission.
Hogan stated: “The government should declare a housing emergency to free up resources and legislative instruments, and should also hold a referendum to insert a new right to housing in the constitution.
“Specifically,” he added, “We’re calling for an immediate Rent Freeze, new rent controls and secure long-term tenancies for renters. Our members also need the government to double their investment in housing and support a major State-led housing programme for the provision of public, affordable and cost rental homes for all.”
Mandate is calling for the introduction of price controls on both domestic and commercial energy supply including the reduction of prices to the cost of production for the duration of the crisis.
Mandate is calling for the reduction of public transport fares to 50% of April 2022 levels. This would mean a further 30% reduction following the previous 20% reduction earlier this year. This would reduce costs for workers but also reduce our carbon footprint as we incentivise workers to leave their cars at home.
Ireland has the second highest childcare costs in the OECD. This is a major drain on the incomes of families and a barrier to women taking up employment or applying for more hours. Mandate is calling for an investment of €350m for a wage subsidy scheme in childcare and to ensure the subsidy is passed on to parents in the form of a 50% cut in fees.
The key recommendations of Mandate’s pre-Budget submission include:
The full pre-Budget submission is available here.