Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady hailed the parties annual Ard Fheis as a huge success. The Ard Fheis was held on April 22nd and 23rd in the Convention Centre in Co Dublin, the eve of the centenary of the 1916 Rising. A large number of delegates from Wicklow attended the event, which seen 3500 delegates from across Ireland debate many motions over the course of the two day event.
Speaking after the event Teachta Brady said “The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis was a huge success, delegates travelled from across Ireland to debate many motions on many issues from the crisis in health and housing to mental health, workers rights and the fire service amongst many others”.
Brady continued “Delegates from Wicklow put forward numerous motions for the Ard Fheis and I’m delighted that all were passed by the membership. I proposed and spoke to a number of motions over the course of the Ard Fheis including one on the discriminatory two tier pay structures that have been introduced for nurses, teachers and the Gardaí.”
“The vital role people working in the public service do, particularly our Gardaí, nurses and teachers must be commended. However with the introduction of the discriminatory two tier pay scales that were introduced in 2011 for new nurses, teachers and Gardaí, have created an environment that is eroding morale, sapping goodwill and breeding discontent and resentment. Having a multiplicity of pay rates for the same work was a regressive concept and completely untenable.”
“The two-tier pay system must end. We need a fairer system that rewards people based on their work and is not defined by when they began their career. We need a system that delivers a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. I’m delighted that this motion passed unanimously by the membership.”
Brady concluded “The buoyant conference passed many progressive motions dealing with housing, water charges, rural affairs, health amongst others. Eight weeks after the election Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are still courting each other whilst there is no political accountability. We in Sinn Féin will talk to anyone; work with everyone who shares our goals, many of which were debated at our Ard Fheis.
We will not sit on our hands or stand idly by. However, we will not prop up a Fine Gael government that favours only the wealthy and disregards the rest. We will not facilitate the austerity Taoiseach Enda Kenny back into government and we make no apology for that. We will not play the game of make believe that Fianna Fáil are acting responsibly or in the ‘National Interest’.”
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Speech delivered by Teachta John Brady, Steenie Mulvey Cuman, Bray
Speaking in support of motion 73.
Ireland north and south has a low pay problem and it’s getting worse. Eradicating low pay is central to building a just, fair, equal and sustainable economy on the island of Ireland.
The twenty six counties has the dubious distinction of having the second highest percentage of low paying jobs in the OECD, coming a close second to the United States which was the highest.
There are continuous battles to try protect workers’ rights, entitlements and pay. We salute and stand in solidarity with the Dunnes Stores, Tesco, LUAS and all other workers who have fought and continue to fight for their rights and entitlements.
Big Jim Larkin once said “Those who want to divide the workers have resorted to the foulest methods”
Unfortunately those foulest methods are still being deployed.
Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the so called Labour party have not only failed to introduce robust legislation that would protect vulnerable workers from unscrupulous employers and vulture capitalists.
They are actually the drivers of the two tiered public services and worker’s pay and conditions.
They are the ones that have resorted to the foulest methods to divide workers. They are the ones that preside over the slave labour activation schemes such as Gateway and Job Bridge. They have also, as employers pitted worker against worker.
This Ard Fheis commends and fully recognises the vital role people working in the public service do, particularly our Gardaí, nurses and teachers.
However with the introduction of the discriminatory two tier pay scales that were introduced in 2011 for new nurses, teachers and Gardaí, they have created an environment that is eroding morale, sapping goodwill and breeding discontent and resentment. Having a multiplicity of pay rates for the same work was a regressive concept and completely untenable. As part of austerity-era cuts, the starting salaries for graduate teachers dropped 21%.
Over a career, the lower salary scales mean a loss of €100,000 for newly-qualified teachers, when compared with their more senior colleagues.
It could mean an income difference of about €8,000 between two nurses working alongside one another, doing exactly the same job, the only difference being when they started work.
The current entry level pay is €23,171 for Garda recruits. This has lead to one Garda recently describing it as Yellow Pack Pay, indeed the low discriminatory pay levels have seen three recently qualified Gardai resign from the Force.
Apart from the pay inequality between workers, two-tier rates lead to industrial disharmony and resentment in workplaces.
The two-tier pay system must end. We need a fairer system that rewards people based on their work and is not defined by when they began their career.
We need a system that delivers a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.