‘We rely on low-paid workers’


Sir, – I’ve been reading Fintan O’Toole’s articles in The Irish Times for as long as I can remember. The piece written in Saturday’s edition was to me one of the best and honest articles I’ve read by him (“We are learning how much we rely on low-paid workers”, Weekend Review, March 28th).

The truth of what people feel they are “worth” for doing a particular job in our society versus those who continue working, especially in the “low-skilled” ranks of workers, is very stark, particularly when the comparison is made to what our public representatives are paid and continue to get paid even though, bar a few in higher office, they are not in any way contributing in a direct way to getting us through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those seen prior to the emergency as having “low-skilled” jobs have had no alternative but to work through this health emergency as many work on zero-hours contracts in all but name, and their level of pay means they’re considered by society as “menial workers”.

What will the heads of the retail giants be willing to do for the “valuable workers” after this health emergency passes? As ever it will be the “shareholders” who will benefit the most, even though it’s done on the back of workers who won’t receive any dividend for their dedication.

I really hope that after this crisis we all take a good look at ourselves and remember that we are all here to contribute to society and make it fair for all of us.– Yours, etc,