Third of workers face difficulties in feeding family

About one third of workers in one of the country’s leading unions are having difficulties feeding and clothing their families after wage cuts, a survey shows.

Mandate, which represents 45,000 people employed by retailers, said four in 10 members had seen their pay drop more than €100 a week as a result of reduced hours, increased taxes, and levies.

John Douglas, the union’s general secretary, said the Government needs to focus more on the type of jobs being created if it is serious about combating poverty.

“This research shows that Ireland’s labour market crisis will not be solved with a more jobs at any cost strategy,” he said.

“We need to look at the quality of jobs that are being created otherwise we will just increase the number of working poor.”

The Mandate survey found that 39% of its members reported an average fall of €109 a week in their take-home pay over the past year. Workers’ hours have dropped by over 4% since last year, and almost 6% for part-timers.

About one third of those polled are finding it difficult to pay off household loans while four in 10 are having problems paying their mortgage or rent.

More than half are struggling to pay gas, electricity, and heating bills while over 70% of the workers have cut back on spending so much they are far less likely to go to the doctor, the study carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes reveals.

Most of the union’s members are on part-time contracts and work on average 22 hours a week.

The survey also found three quarters of those polled were finding it more difficult to cope in general and suffered more stress than a few years ago.

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