Patricia King, the head of the Irish Congress Trade Unions (ICTU), has warned Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe against cutting the €350 weekly pandemic payment at any time, as the number of people receiving some sort of government payment amid the Covid-19 economic crisis reached a record of more than 1.27m.
She said the matter should be left to any new government and the economy was too fragile. Any new government needs a new social income system and any talk of cutting the €350 weekly payment “should be off the agenda”, Ms King told the Irish Examiner.
She also claimed that people were not aware of the “shameful” levels of low pay and poverty. Supermac’s owner Pat McDonagh has been quoted as saying he could not recruit some staff for his fast-food restaurants as the €350 payment was discouraging people from taking up part-time work.
Figures from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection yesterday showed the number of people on the pandemic unemployment payment of €350 a week fell only 5,200 to 579,400. However, the department said that up to 35,600 builders will draw their final pandemic unemployment payment this week.
Nonetheless, the number of people availing of the wage-support scheme surged 18,800 to 482,800. Including the 214,700 people on the official unemployment count in April, more than 1.27m are now receiving support during the Covid-19 economic crisis, which is a new record.
Many people on the official unemployment count can qualify for a benchmark weekly unemployment payment of €203 before their household circumstances are determined.
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