ICTU’s general secretary Patricia King gave a passionate and well received address to conference this afternoon. Patricia’s theme was societal equality, she said wage led growth is the only sustainable route to economic progress.
Patricia told delegates that every worker deserves a living wage and that the trade union movement will not facilitate outsourcing of public service jobs on basis of race to the bottom, and was scathing about employers that oppose minimum wage increases.
She said that workers have “become swamped with the statistics of recovery” but that “no consideration has been given to societal recovery”.
She called for recovery to be twinned with serious “social investment based on the principle of equality”.
Patricia warned that the “global inequality crisis is reaching new extremes”.
She drew attention to specific examples of inequality in Irish society. She referenced commercial companies where the CEO is paid 52 times the average company wage. She also reminded delegates that, though recovery is underway, one in six people in Ireland is at risk of poverty, and one in four workers is on low pay.
Patricia also echoed the remarks of IMPACT’s president and general secretary in lending her voice to the growing calls for the accelerated unwinding of FEMPI, and reasserted the trade union movement’s opposition to the TTIP and CETA trade agreements.