NWCI outraged as Bruton refuses consultation on low paid

The National Women’s Council of Ireland has expressed deep concern that the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, has not heeded its requests to meet with him to discuss his proposed changes to Joint Labour Committees (JLCs).

Minister Bruton indicated in late May that he would be consulting with relevant stakeholders to discuss his proposals regarding cuts and changes to JLCs before Friday 10 June ahead of submitting a final action plan to Cabinet before the end of that month. The National Women’s Council Ireland, through the Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid, says it has sent emails, letters and phoned Minister Bruton’s office since 23 May requesting a meeting to discuss the impact his proposals would have on the lowest paid workers and the economy.


According to Susan McKay, CEO of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, “It’s outrageous that Minister Bruton is excluding voices of workers and the women who represent a majority of those impacted by his proposed changes to JLCs. Are not the hard-working women who struggle to support themselves and their families as cleaners in hospitals, as hotel housekeepers, as mushroom pickers, as hairdressers and as shop workers the most relevant stakeholders?”

Mary McBride, a hospital cleaner and mother of six, says, “I don’t think [Minister Bruton] understands what it’s like to support a family on such a low wage.  I work hard for every euro I get. He mightn’t notice a cut like €20 in his week’s wages but for me it’s the difference between my family surviving and going over the edge.” 

Says Ms. McKay: “Fine Gael’s budget proposals were based on a principle that the most vulnerable members of society would be protected, especially working women.  Michael Noonan spoke of the need to protect these workers prior to the election when he said

‘These are the women who clean the offices in the morning.  These are the women who serve food at weddings or hotel functions, who do the washing up, but go home to their families before the dancing begins.’  

“The women to whom Minister Noonan so eloquently referred are in fact the women whose income is set by JLCs and whose families will be driven into greater poverty should their income be further reduced by his ministerial colleagues plans to slash their pay and provisions.  Further cuts will undoubtedly push more onto social welfare and widen the gender pay gap.”