Date Released: 10 March 2016
A Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and SIPTU campaign focusing on informing students about their rights as workers will reach Athlone IT, Limerick School of Art and Design and NUI Galway next week.
The campaign aims to inform students of their rights in areas including working time, pay and confronting workplace bullying. The campaign also highlights the trade union demand that all workers should be paid a Living Wage of at least €11.50 per hour.
The campaign will host events in Athlone IT, County Westmeath, on Monday (14th March), in Limerick School of Art and Design, County Limerick, on Tuesday (15th March) and NUI Galway, County Galway, on Wednesday (16th March).
SIPTU Organiser, Dave Curran, said: “Everyone deserves a living wage, job security and stability in working hours so that they can plan their lives. In recent years there has been a push by some of the political and business establishment to drive down wages and erode working conditions. Young people have borne the brunt of this with the proliferation of short term contracts, insecure hours, ‘if and when’ contracts, low pay and unpaid internships.
Not only has this process been bad for workers but the insecurity and stress it creates are bad for society. Young people need strong unions, and unions need the voices of young people so we can build a better society for all.”
USI and SIPTU will also be launching a petition for the introduction of a living wage in Ireland, a campaign which is supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and which politicians of all parties are being asked to support.
Dave Curran added: “In November 2015 the joint committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation launched a report entitled ‘Low Pay, Decent Work and a Living Wage’. The committee noted that ‘paying low-paid employees a living wage offers the prospect of significantly benefiting the living standards of these employees’ and that ‘the state should become a living wage employer and that payment of the living wage should be stipulated as mandatory in government procurement contracts’.”
Jessica Murphy, a third year of Film and Broadcasting student based in Dublin, said that the exploitation of students in the workplace was unfortunately not uncommon.
She said: “I worked at a company with a zero hours contract where I had no guaranteed breaks during shifts which could be over six hours long. I had no guarantee of a finish time and was sometimes overworked as the only member of staff in the building in the evenings. I know of several other students who have faced similar exploitation in the workplace.”