Date Released: 11 March 2014
SIPTU will continue its campaign for pay increases in profitable employments across the economy in order to improve living standards for members, grow the economy and create jobs, Jack O’Connor has said.
Responding to a front page article entitled “Kenny offers tax cut for pay freeze” in the Sunday Times on 9th March, the SIPTU president said that the union is “not involved in any talks of any kind with Government or otherwise on such a concept."
He said that if the Government honoured its commitment to legislate for collective bargaining, exploratory discussions might be possible “but only on the basis that any outcome would benefit the great majority of our members and citizens generally.”
“We are not involved in talks of any kind with Government or otherwise on such a concept. Moreover, we are not aware of any such talks involving others in the trade union movement. Indeed we are pressing ahead with our strategy to win pay increases in profitable employments across the economy in order to begin the work of recovering ground lost over the crisis years. Apart from securing benefits for the members directly involved, the object is to increase purchasing power thus stimulating domestic demand so as to grow the economy and increase employment,” Jack O’Connor said.
He added that SIPTU has concluded 188 agreements across the manufacturing sector providing for an annualised 2% on average or a little more. These are constructed on the principle of providing workers with a share in the recovery while simultaneously supporting the medium to long term sustainability of jobs.
He also insisted that the union does not agree to any further cutting of public services upon which the great majority of citizens depend in order to facilitate tax cuts.
“Tax cuts are often deployed in such a way as to disproportionately benefit the better off. However, tax reductions for people on lower and middle incomes, facilitated by an increased contribution from the wealthy and by economic growth, would actually be quite positive. It would increase the purchasing power of average citizens thus generating jobs and growth. This is the only approach to tax alleviation that we could consider,” he said.
“The only equitable way to reduce the tax burden is by concentrating on widening the bands for the Universal Social Charge or otherwise providing for a refundable child tax credit. This would assist everybody but it would be most effective for those who need it most.
“In circumstances where the Government had honoured its commitment to legislate to give effect to collective bargaining rights in this country, we would not rule out the possibility of exploratory discussions but only on the basis that any outcome would benefit the great majority of our members and citizens generally.”