11 October 2016

Labour Senator and Spokesperson on Labour Affairs and Workers Rights, Ged Nash, says the Government’s 10 cent increase in the National Minimum Wage outlined in Budget 2017, is a slap in the face for 70 thousand of Ireland’s lowest paid workers.

“The government has failed to meet its own commitments to raise the minimum wage to €10.50,” said Senator Nash.

“At this rate of increase, as announced by Minister Noonan today, it will take almost 13 years to reach the target this administration set itself in the Programme for Government just last May.

The 10c per hour increase contrasts heavily with the 50c per hour rise Labour introduced on January 1st.

Furthermore, this paltry increase will be eroded by inflation in 2017.

For a full-time worker on the National Minimum Wage, last year’s rise was the equivalent of two week’s extra wages in terms of take home pay.

A solemn promise was made by Fine Gael and the Independents that the minimum wage would lift to €10.50 during the term of this government.

In order to achieve this, the mandate of the Low Pay Commission which Labour in government set up must be amended in law to allow it to work with government to phase in the necessary increases.

Fine Gael TDs cannot hide behind the independence of the Low Pay Commission as an excuse to do little or nothing on the minimum wage.

The reality is that the independence of the Commission was undermined the day FG and the Independent Alliance signed up to a €10.50 target for the minimum wage. They cannot have it both ways.

The Labour Party was up front about this in our manifesto and we made it clear that this process would include a further 50cent an hour increase to the National Minimum Wage this year, building to a National Living Wage of approximately 60% of median earnings by 2021. At today’s value, this would amount to around €11.30 per hour.

Ahead of the recent general election, Fine Gael tried to steal Labour’s clothes with pithy slogans like ‘making work pay’. We now know that the threads they donned as recently as February were nothing but knocked-off imitations of the real thing.”


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