30 December 2016

There will be no New Year cheer for Ireland’s lowest paid workers with the derisory 10 cent per hour increase to the National Minimum Wage which will take effect on New Year’s Day, according to Labour spokesperson Ged Nash.

“This time last year, 70,000 workers in the National Minimum Wage saw a 6% rise in their hourly rate of pay – up from €8.65 per hour to €9.15.

“This year’s increase – recommended in July in a timid report by the Low Pay Commission, and accepted by a government that does not have the slightest interest in making work pay – is well below anticipated average pay increases across the economy and represents a slap in the face for low paid workers.

“The new rate of €9.25 is a long way off Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance’s Programme for Government commitment of a national minimum wage of €10.50 per hour.

“At this rate of increase, it will take this government 15 years to reach its stated policy objective.

“Only seven months in, their policy is in tatters and should be a source of huge shame and embarrassment for the government.

“Fianna Fáil’s silence on this issue has been deafening. Rather than engaging in sham fights with Fine Gael to generate column inches and airtime, they would be better served putting the interests of low paid workers first and using their influence to make work pay by keeping FG honest on their own promises.

“Then again, Fianna Fail’s record on protecting low paid workers speaks for itself. When the crash came, this was the party that took a euro off the National Minimum Wage, cutting it from €8.65 to €7.65 per hour.

“Even when the British Conservative government is moving towards a National Living Wage of 60% of median income by 2020, Ireland’s two stale civil war parties are shamefully content to leave the lowest paid behind.

“Labour believes that Irish workers need a Living Wage and we have proposed a road map as to how this can be achieved during the lifetime of this Dail.”


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