2019 must be the year of the living wage

01 January 2019

Labour Spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Senator Ged Nash, has called on the government to make 2019 the year of the Living Wage. The rapid increase in the cost of living over the last four years warrants an appropriate response from Government.

Senator Nash said:

“Thanks to the work of the Low Pay Commission which I established in 2015, today sees the fourth successive annual increase in the National Minimum Wage.

“This increase to the basic statutory floor of hourly income is welcome but it does not go anywhere close to meeting the real needs of citizens.

“The cost of living has been spiraling out of control for a number of years now. Living costs such as rent, fuel, health, and car insurance, back to school costs and public transport, have all gone up in recent years yet the most basic wage offered to workers has failed to keep pace.

“We know that there are more people living at risk of poverty now than in 2015, and there are certainly more people working while living in, or accessing, homelessness services. The minimum wage in Ireland right now does not reflect the basic living cost of Ireland.

“Sadly and at the rate of increase we have seen to the Minimum Wage in the lifetime of this government to date, the Programme for Government target of €10.50 an hour looks likely to be missed.

“2019 should be the year that the government commits to working towards a real living wage of €11.90.

“The work done in recent years by the Low Pay Commission has been valuable but it doesn’t go far enough. In order for a living wage to be reached, the government should change the remit of the Commission to give it the mandate to reach that target of €11.90 per hour.

 “The need for a Living Wage should be taken seriously by the government.

“People on the minimum wage experience stress and precariousness in their finances as part of their everyday lives. This should not be an acceptable state of affairs for anyone who works for a living. Everyone deserves a decent wage for a day’s work.”

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