Hundreds of workers paying heavy a price for lockdown

WITH many sectors of the local economy currently ‘locked down’ again, and with the furlough scheme coming to an end, many families across the Fermanagh are struggling to make ends meet. 
In many cases families are finding it hard to pay their bills or feed their children, and with restrictions set to continue, so to is the hardship. Just this week, for example, the Enniskillen Food Bank revealed it had already supported more people this year than all of 2019, and they hadn’t even reached their busy Christmas season yet. 
The hospitality industry has once again been one of the sectors hardest impacted by the current Covid restrictions, and while it is accepted that measures have be taken to prevent the spread of the virus in the community, there have been calls for support to be made urgently available to those who find themselves out of work once again. 
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh said he has been contacted by many local workers in the hospitality industry in recent days.  
“Nearly all of them have had reduced hours, and not only have they had reduced hours but they’ve had reduced pay per hour, because they’re only guaranteed two thirds of their previous wage, which for most hospitality workers is pennies above the minimum wage,” he said. 
Cllr O’Cofaigh said that the average wage in the hospitality sector was £8.84 per hour, 12p more than minimum wage. Under the new job retention scheme, families will have to live off three quarters of that among. 

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