Minimum wage increase falls well short of expectation

19 July 2016

Today’s recommendation by Low Pay Commission of an increase of just one per cent in the National Minimum Wage is very disappointing and falls well short of what is needed if the Programme for Government commitment to increase it to €10.50/hour by 2021is to be achieved.

In 2011, Labour took office shortly after Fianna Fáil had cut the Minimum Wage to €7.65 per hour. We immediately reversed that cut, and in 2014, went on to implement the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission to increase the Minimum Wage for a second time from €8.65 to €9.15 per hour.

In other words during our time in office, we put €3,000 a year into the pockets of those who needed it most.

It is our view that this current Government should continue that momentum by directing the Low Pay Commission to target a Minimum Wage of 60% of median earnings by 2021.

Sadly, that does not seem to be happening with a result that a Minimum Wage of €10.50 an hour is unlikely to ever become a reality under this government.

The Unions have today published a minority report proposing that the Minimum Wage be increased to €10 this year, and I would like to add my support and that of the Labour Party, to their proposal.

We also believe that the Government should become a living wage employer, and to extend this requirement to those who provide services to it in onsite services such as security, cleaning and catering, will ensure that work pays, even for those on modest incomes.

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