Kildare TD calls for adequate financial support for unemployed

The €203 Euro COVID-19 payment falls far short of what is required to sustain most families says trade union

Henry Bauress

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Henry Bauress

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Kildare TD calls for adequate financial support for unemployed

Kildare North TD Reada Cronin

Sinn Féin TD for Kildare North, Réada Cronin has said that it is vital that all supports are put in place for workers, families and businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency.

The Mandate trade union has said that the €203 Covid payments falls short of what it required.

Deputy Cronin said it is vital that workers, families and businesses are given all the support they need at this time. "Those who have had the misfortune of losing their jobs, those that have had their hours cut and those that have been forced out of employment to care for children must be supported, and whilst changes that have been announced to the social welfare system are welcome, other changes may be required in the time ahead to ensure that economic hardship is averted,” she said.

 Calling for a mortgage holiday she said families and workers must also be protected from rent increases and evictions at this very difficult time. She also said there should be a suspension of utility disconnections by all providers.

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 Deputy Cronin said childcare providers and workers must also be supported through this period of emergency closure and a package of measures including income supports must be clearly outlined as a matter of priority.

 Other businesses also need urgent interventions, including a deferral of VAT payments.

 "It is vital that we pull together at this time as a community and as a country.  Together we can get through this and while our local offices are closed, Sinn Féin representatives are at hand to assist those impacted by measures introduced to combat Covid-19 in any way we can,” concluded Deputy Cronin.

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Meanwhile, Mandate Trade Union has today called on the Government to immediately implement measures to protect at least the net take home pay of all workers who have been temporarily laid off by employers at this time.

The retail sector has been severely hit with temporary lay-offs as foot fall to non-food outlets reduces to a trickle in many cases and as customers begin to heed warnings and reduce their social interaction. We have already seen temporary closures of many household retail names adding to the shock faced by 50,000 bar workers following the closures of bars last week.

John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary said the Government now needs to prioritise not only the health of workers, but also their ability to survive on a daily basis for their families. “Frankly the €203 Euro COVID-19 payment falls far short of what is required to sustain most families, employers with the assistance of Government funding should be instructed to pay all impacted workers the equivalent of their normal net take home pay."

Mr Douglas said the announcement by Brown Thomas and Arnotts that they will be closing at 5.00pm today is regrettable but welcomed management's commitment to pay all workers their contracted rostered hours for the foreseeable future: "This is the benchmark for other retailers. Where possible, workers should have their incomes protected and Mandate welcomes the commitment of Brown Thomas and Arnotts to put their staff first in this difficult situation."

Mandate Trade Union is also calling on Government to introduce the following emergency measures: all mortgage repayments and rent payments be suspended with immediate effect; bank loans and repayments for businesses and personal customers alike should also be suspended

Mr Douglas added: "With the exception of essential food retailers, it is more than likely as this crisis deepens that more and more department stores and non- food outlets will be forced to close. This also will have a knock-on impact on the suppliers of goods and services to these stores. The tsunami of temporary job lay-offs should not be allowed to swamp already stressed-out workers and their families.”

"We call on the parties to the Labour Market Stakeholder Group (ICTU, IBEC, ISME, and Government) to take the above mentioned actions without further delay," concluded Mr Douglas.