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11 January 2013

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Do Gilmore and Labour support ‘equal pay for equal work’?

‘To be blunt, it is incomprehensible that a Labour Party leader would not only deepen pay inequity in the public sector but would also robustly defend such a decision.’

TODAY’S Morning Ireland RTÉ Radio interview by Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has raised a question mark over Labour’s commitment to equal pay for equal work, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD says.

The Dublin Central TD says the Tánaiste appeared to concede that Labour is no longer committed to the principle of equal pay for equal work.

“When quizzed about the Government’s decision to slash graduate nurse and midwives’ pay by 20%, the Tánaiste robustly defended his party’s decision to forgo the principle of equal pay for equal work, suggesting this catchment of future Health Service Executive staff were lucky to get jobs in the first place,” Mary Lou said.

She said that pay inequity is rife throughout the public sector and if the HSE or any other Government department or agency is serious about reducing pay and pension expenditure, significant savings can be found by addressing excessive pay at the top.

“Those at the top of the service continue to be paid substantially more than European counterparts, including hospital consultants and senior administrators,” the Sinn Féin deputy leader said.

“Instead, the Tánaiste has chosen to protect high rollers and target those at the very bottom of the public sector pay grades.

“To be blunt, it is incomprehensible that a Labour Party leader would not only deepen pay inequity in the public sector but would also robustly defend such a decision.”

Today’s statements by the Tánaiste have to be clarified, Mary Lou McDonald insisted.

“Eamon Gilmore needs to publicly clarify Labour’s policy position on equal pay for equal work. Trade union leaders must also make this demand of the Labour leadership.”

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