The Union of Students in Ireland and SIPTU are calling for all workers to be paid a living wage of at least €11.45 and will be travelling across campuses (AIT, NUIG and LSAD) with a worker’s rights campaign informing students about their working rights.
The campaign, which will run from the March 14 to 16, will inform students about the best ways to deal with issues such as: how to make a complaint, unlawful deductions from wages, not permitted breaks, not permitted annual leave, insufficient rest periods, maternity leave, right to associate with a union, unfair dismissal; and discrimination of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, sex, marital status, membership of traveller community, and/or disability.
 
USI and SIPTU will also be launching a petition for the introduction of a living wage in Ireland which is supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and which politicians of all parties are being called on to support.
 
In November 2015 the joint committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation launched a report entitled Low Pay, Decent Work and a Living Wage (2015). The committee noted that “paying low-paid employees a living wage offers the prospect of significantly benefiting the living standards of these employees” and that “the state should become a living wage employer and that payment of the living wage should be stipulated as mandatory in government procurement contracts.”
 
“Fair treatment of workers at all levels should be a key priority for any government.” Kevin Donoghue, USI President, said, “We will be advising students on their rights at work; how to raise a complaint regarding issues at work; how not to get taken for granted in their part-time jobs; and informing them about SIPTU’s Workers Rights Centre which is offering a confidential advisory service to all students who are members of USI. The prevalence of in-work poverty and deprivation is unacceptably high. 350,000 workers (just under 20% of the workforce) are currently classified as ‘living in deprivation’. This rises to 33.8% in one-income households. Additionally, 95,000 workers were at risk of poverty. This needs to change and the introduction of a living wage will help make this change happen.”
 
“Everyone deserves a living wage, job security and stability in working hours so that they can plan their lives.” Dave Curran, SIPTU organiser, said, “In recent years there has been a push by some of the political and business establishment to drive down wages and erode working conditions. Young people have borne the brunt of this with the proliferation of short term contracts, insecure hours, ‘if and when’ contracts, low pay and unpaid internships. Not only is this bad for workers but the insecurity and stress it creates are bad for society. Young people need strong unions, and unions need the voices of young people so we can build a better society for all.”