October 21, 2013
October 15, 2013
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SIPTU President says Budget 2014 requires much renovation
Budget 2014 is one that requires much renovation SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor has said. In a review of today’s budget measures he said:
“Granted, a €2.5bn budget is better than the €3.1bn originally projected. However, the Government could have got away with taking out a couple of hundred million euro less again while still safely undercutting the 5.1% deficit target for 2014.
“The decision to abolish tax relief on pension contributions for very high earners is long overdue. However, in the budget speech last year it was envisaged to yield €250 million in a full year. It is not at all clear from the way that it is being implemented that it will meet this target. The proposed bank levy to yield €150 million is positive as are the other measures to raise revenue from capital and wealth but there is considerably more space to increase the contribution from those who can most afford it. Regrettably, the Fine Gael party’s continued insistence on protecting the rich will mean further unnecessary suffering for low income pensioners and struggling families.
“The abolition of top slicing relief in redundancy situations is an utterly regressive measure dressed up as progressive. The proper approach would have been to reduce it by half to a maximum of €100,000. It will aggravate the misery of redundancy for a great many people on quite modest incomes and we are totally opposed to it.
“We are bitterly disappointed at the failure to put some mechanism in place to offset the effect of the abolition of the Transitional Pension on 65 year olds retiring from employment. It is estimated that there are only 1,400 people involved per year. They are the only group in this age category who will actually experience a reduction in their income as a result of the change. Even if all of them were to claim in respect of adult dependents, which obviously would not be the case, the total saving will be less than €5m per annum. We will continue to campaign to persuade the Government to change its mind on this measure which is so detrimental to elderly workers who have been paying their tax and Social Insurance contributions all their working lives.
“We are strongly opposed to the decision to abolish the pensioners’ telephone allowance completely. This should be means tested so that lower income pensioners would retain it. We welcome the introduction of free GP care for children under five as a tiny first step towards the achievement of a universally free health service. We do not go along with the spin that this is being done at the expense of medical card coverage for low income families. The estimated €37m involved could easily be raised by slightly increasing the tax take from the better-off.
“Trade union members will not be too severely affected by the decision to extend the waiting time for social welfare sick pay from 3 days to 6 days because we will be insisting that the employers pay it in all instances. We do acknowledge that the basic rates of social welfare have been maintained throughout the life of this Government. However, a slightly higher tax contribution from the better-off would have obviated the need for many of the other measures.
New claimants under the age of 25 should not have their job seekers allowance reduced unless they had turned down a decent job or good quality training or apprenticeship. The apprenticeship system should be extended to include new occupations such as child minding, care of the elderly and occupations in the hospitality and other sectors.
“On a preliminary examination, there seem to be a number of good announcements in relation to capital infrastructure projects which will generate some jobs. However, the really key question is as to how rapidly the €6.6bn which has been finally re-designated from the National Pensions Reserve Fund into the Strategic Investment Fund can be leveraged into the economy to generate thousands of jobs. We in SIPTU have been calling for this since Mayday of 2011. If it had been done then it would have speeded up the recovery and avoided a considerable degree of unnecessary misery and suffering. That being said, it is never too late to do the right thing.”
15th October, 2013
August 6, 2013
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August 6, 2013
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August 5, 2013
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June 1, 2013
Issued by SIPTU Grassroots, 28th May 2013
[A bit excitable towards the end - DD]
NO MEANS NO : VOTE NO TO CROKE PARK 3
There is nothing in the latest Croke Park deal for public sector workers. All of us – Gardai, teachers nurses, hospital staff, local authority workers, firemen – will still be robbed by €1 billion, just like the last time. If any group think they gain – it will only be because another group have lost.
• Everyone’s hours of work are being increased. Those under 35 hours go to 37. Those over 35, go to 39. Management can deploy these extra hours any way they want and can ‘aggregate’ them on a daily, weekly or annual basis. The extra hours at management discretion could be Christmas, new year and bank holiday weekends and every time they want you to cover summer holidays etc. So, really, your boss owns you.
PAY FREEZE UNTIL 2016
• If these proposals go through, workers will not get a pay rise for eight years, from 2008-2016 – even though we have to put up with property taxes, Universal Social Charge, water charges.
NEW ROSTERS TO CUT OUT OVERTIME PAYMENTS
• The increased hours will be used as an excuse for new rosters which will eliminate overtime payments, including Sunday working. Workers will have to co-operate on these changes.
• Those who work 39 hours will give away an hour’s free overtime a week until March 2014.
CUTS IN INCREMENTS AND OVERTIME RATES
• Those who earn over €35,000 – and that includes allowances – will see their overtime rates cut to time and a quarter. This ‘new norm’ will later be extended to everyone else. Other workers will have to give an extra six days work for free. Increments will also be cut.
MORE RE-DEPLOYMENT BEYOND 45 KILOMETRES AND MANAGEMENT BY STRESS
• There will be more re-deployment because managements will get ‘enhanced flexibility’. The 45 kilometres away norm can also be breached. Workers will also be subject to more individual ‘targets’ and where these are not met, there will be disciplinary measures and ‘exit mechanisms’.
The union leaders, who are pushing a Yes vote are trying to help their friends in the Labour Party. They are letting them tear up the existing agreement that runs to 2014 to take more from workers. They are also collaborating with a government to bring in laws that give the government power to change our hours and wages at the stroke of a pen.
We need to vote No – and drive the Labour Party hacks who dominate our unions out of office. If we vote No a second time, they will have to resign. Once that happens, our unions can democratically decide how to defend ourselves against a government that grabs everything from workers – and gives tax breaks to the rich.
DON’T FALL FOR SCARE TACTICS – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – VOTE NO
Issued by SIPTU Grassroots. Phone 087 2839964 Facebook: SIPTU GRASSROOTS AGAINST CROKE PARK 2