Dramatic growth figures should open the door to better wages

12 July 2016

I welcome the publication of today’s GDP growth figures for 2015.

Even when we strip away the effect of companies relocating assets to Ireland, the economic growth figures are stratospheric.

Labour in government delivered national economic recovery and unprecedented growth.

In introducing new collective bargaining laws, re-establishing wage setting mechanisms such as Registered Employment Agreement frameworks, Employment Regulation Orders and setting up new Sectoral Employment Orders systems we sought to ensure that new structures were introduced to make work pay and to make sure that the national recovery reached every household.

Central to that ambition was the establishment of the Low Pay Commission. I look forward to its second annual report on the 19th of July and a recommended new rate for the National Minimum Wage for 2017.

Despite the massive economic growth we have recorded, we are still told by some that the recovery is fragile and that low paid workers should not get their fair share in terms of wage increases.

The basis for those empty arguments are getting thinner by the day as the economy surges ahead.

The government must send out the message that work should pay and that those who work hard for a living should be properly remunerated.

I would hope that next week’s Low Pay Commission report will reflect the need to do just that and build on the 50 cent per hour minimum wage increase which Labour introduced in January.

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