At the opening of its biennial conference in Killarney last night, Impact trade union president Kevin O’Malley said focussing solely on tax cuts would mean working people would have to trade any sort of income recovery for worse public services, while profitable businesses and their shareholders made no contribution at all.
“It means profitable companies can continue to have their low-pay business model subsidised by taxpayers through the benefits system, which is fast becoming a safety net not for citizens who are down on their luck, but for profitable corporations exploiting the minimum wage and zero-hours contracts.”
“That is not acceptable to us and it should not be acceptable to the politicians who run the country,” Mr O’Malley said.
Impact pointed out that late last year figures showed almost 90,000 employees were receiving jobseekers’ benefits because their pay was too low or their working hours were too few, while over 40,000 working families were receiving family income supplement (FIS).
It said the number of public servants who receive FIS was up 32% since 2008.
The union president said income restoration was now Impact’s first priority after six years “during which living standards had been battered for all but a small elite”.
Today, the conference will debate pay policy, including an executive motion that calls on the union to pursue a strategy for income recovery for workers.
Delegates are also expected to back a motion calling for an end to the public service recruitment embargo.