Paltry increase to the minimum wage is an affront to low paid workers

06 October 2020

The 10c increase in the minimum wage agreed by Government today is an affront to low paid workers, according to Labour Employment Affairs Spokesperson Senator Marie Sherlock. 


Senator Sherlock said:  


“For over six months, essential workers, a large share of whom are low paid, have had to listen to platitudes about the need to value their work. A 10c increase in the minimum wage makes clear the hollowness of the Government’s commitments. It is an affront to the cleaners, carers and retail workers who worked through the darkest days of the pandemic so that the rest of us could stay safely at home.  


“Just as importantly, it is a wake-up call that the attitude of the current Government towards the lowest paid has not changed. Those living on the national minimum wage or just above it are getting by on poverty wages. If the Government were serious about valuing these workers, who are the backbone of the workforce of our country, then they would have legislated for a meaningful increase in the minimum wage. 


 “It is important to put these figures in context. The dispute within the Low Pay Commission between a 10c and 20c increase was the difference for a full-time worker of just €2.16 in take-home pay per week, or just €4.37 in additional labour costs for the employer. 


“Ireland has one of the highest numbers of low-paid workers in Europe, meaning this decision will let down a huge number of workers across the country. It represents a regrettable failure of the Low Pay Commission, which was set up to assist low paid workers and to progressively increase the minimum wage in a fair and sustainable manner.  


“Following the collapse of the Low Pay Commission last month, the Government had a choice between delivering a fair increase for ordinary workers or bowing to certain employer representatives who are determined to resist any progress. Sadly, the Government has now made its choice against the interests of the lowest paid in our society. 


“Instead they have delivered an increase to the minimum wage that will barely cover the bus fare of an average worker living in Dublin.” 


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