Low Pay Commission should be re-tooled to target Living Wage for all workers

05 January 2018

Labour Party spokesperson on Employment and Social Protection, Ged Nash, has said that the Low Pay Commission should now be re-tooled and given a target for all workers to be paid a Living Wage by 2021. The current rate of the Living Wage is €11.70 per hour.

Senator Nash said:

“I set up the Low Pay Commission on a statutory basis to deliver annual reviews of the National Minimum Wage.

“As a result of the work of the independent Commission, the rate of the minimum wage has gone from €9.15 per hour to €9.55 since January 1st, 2016.

“While the statutory minimum wage is the floor beneath which nobody should be allowed to fall, we cannot pretend that €9.55 an hour represents anything close to the kind of income that allows a worker to have a reasonable quality of life.

“On that basis, it is encouraging to see major firms like Aldi recommit today to the agreement they made with me in 2015 and that they will continue pay all their staff a Living Wage.

“As Ireland’s economy continues to power ahead, there needs to be a sea-change in terms of the distribution of income. Working people must receive a greater share of their output if work is to pay and if the dignity of work is to be truly valued. 

“Under its founding Act, the Low Pay Commission is this year obliged to report to government on the performance of its functions and the impact of its work.

“The government says in its own programme agreed in mid-2016 that it wants to see a national minimum wage of €10.50 per hour by the end of its term. There is little chance of the government reaching its own target, never mind a national Living Wage of €11.70 an hour.

“That’s why the LPC’s functions need to be changed. Given that the Commission must report this year and review its performance, then it is timely that the opportunity should be used by government to give the Commission a target, enshrined in law, for all workers to be paid a Living Wage by 2021.

“If the Tories in the UK can do it, is it too much to expect that Fine Gael would do the same?

“The Commission must be given the tools to develop that roadmap now and to work with business, trade unions and civil society to make this treasonable ambition a reality.”

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