Government making hard work of Minimum Wage promise

18 July 2017

Labour spokesperson on Worker’s Rights, Senator Ged Nash has said that the government is making extremely hard work of their pledge to increase the National Minimum Wage to €10.50 per hour.

Senator Nash said:

“While modest, the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase the rate by 30 cent an hour to €9.55 is a welcome but very small step in the right direction.

“Frankly, this government has a lot to be modest about when it comes to delivering on its own promise that work should pay.

“With a miserly 10 cent increase last year and a modest 30 cent recommended for next year, the Fine Gael-Independent Alliance government is making extremely heavy weather of their pledge to hike the minimum wage rate to €10.50 per hour.

“Even when combined, the two increases over which they have presided still falls short of the 50 cent increase we managed in a single year and on foot of the first Low Pay Commission report which was published this time two years ago.

“The Low Pay Commission was set up as an important institutional response to the scourge of low pay.

“It’s primary function is to use an evidence base to propose a new rate for the national minimum wage each year.

“In the absence of this statutory body, the chances of annual increases to the minimum wage under Fine Gael would be slim to none.

“According to the CSO, there are around 130,000 workers on the national minimum wage. If the government is serious about reaching its own published target, then they need to work closely with the Low Pay Commission to develop a road map to €10.50 which in itself is €1.20 short of a Living Wage which now stands at €11.70 per hour.

“The Labour Party believes that the minimum wage should be transformed over a period of time to into a Living Wage and then pegged at about two-thirds of median income.

“The two combined increases to the minimum wage which Labour in government introduced saw the annual salary of a full-time worker on the national minimum wage rise by over €3,000. This represented practical action for low paid workers and it has made a real difference to tens of thousands of lives.”

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