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USI Call For A Living Wage For Students Across Ireland

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI), which represents 354,000 students across Ireland, today have made a submission to the Low Pay Commission on the National Minimum Wage calling for a living wage of  €11.50 per hour and recognising the issues of zero-hour contracts and ‘If and When’ contracts.

You can read the submisison here.

In the period from 2007 to 2014 the student contribution fee increased by 363% from €825 to €3000, rents have increased across the country, and on top of this it is costing students over €11,160 a year to get their degrees. Students typically work in low paid jobs with the prime motivation for students to work in low-paid jobs largely attributed to the cost of higher education and student debt. €11.50 an hour can make a big difference for students working throughout college to get by on and won’t be locked out of education, or go by without food.

USI called for a national anonymous public case studies for the submission in order to make it’s point for a living wage.

One case study reads: “As home is in Donegal, there is a rough distance of 250km between the college and where I live and work on the weekends. I also suffer from Crohn’s Disease and must get a form of treatment done every 8 weeks in the Letterkenny hospital near home and this requires me to miss college. It is both expensive and timely to travel home every weekend, in order to earn some cash, that half of it goes back into petrol to make the journey back on a Sunday night. Half my weekly wage goes into earning the other half and it can be extremely difficult. Having the minimum wage increase would be a substantial aid to myself, other college students and anybody else scraping the barrel at minimum wage”.

USI are committed to campaigning for a living wage of €11.50 an hour and welcome any groups to get in contact to work towards this goal. USI are a living wage employer in Ireland

You can read the submisison here.

Anonymous Case Study 2:

“Currently I’m on a zero hour contract, making it impossible to budget or plan. At most, I’ll find out that I have a shift a week in advance. While the zero hour contract is great in terms of flexibility with my college schedule, it makes it difficult to spend money on anything other than the bare essentials of food, bus fare and medication (anti-depressants) without worrying that I’ll need the money later. A low wage with no stability in terms of hours creates unnecessary stress, but I know that having no contract means kicking up a fuss leaves me powerless. I can never challenge my manager if I feel unfairly treated as I’m easily replaced. I’m paid twice a month, and I’ve had pay checks be weeks or a month late but I’m afraid to kick up too much of a fuss in case that’s the last cheque I’ll get. I’ve social anxiety and an eating disorder, although I’m currently recovering. Most of the jobs students tend to work are far too stressful for me when I’m not doing well mentally (e.g. bar work, working in restaurants, retail), leaving few options. I’m grateful to be working at all, but I’ve been looking for a new job for almost a year with no success. I’m stuck in this job for the time being”

You can read the submisison here.