Workers can’t wait five years for a living wage

13 April 2022

Labour spokesperson on Employment and Workers Rights, Senator Marie Sherlock has today (Wednesday, 13th April) said that five years is too long for people to wait for a living wage and income.

Senator Sherlock said:

“It is simply unacceptable that the Government wants to take up to five years to introduce a living wage. We are in a crisis now and Ireland needs a pay rise. Food prices and rents are skyrocketing. The reality is too many people in this country are barely getting by, living hand to mouth and in a permanent low pay trap. This needs to stop.

“We need to see an immediate intervention so that people’s wages stop leaving them cold and hungry. Starting with the minimum wage, we need to see a 30 cent increase immediately, and one euro over the future months.

“The move to have the living wage legislation put in place which would set down very clearly that the living wage is linked to two-thirds of average earnings  was the original intention of minimum wage legislation when it was introduced over 20 years ago. However, the minimum wage has fallen far behind and accounts for only 44% of average earnings. This is unsustainable.

“If the Government is serious about having a positive and fair impact on peoples living standards and wages it needs to look at not only the hourly rate of pay itself but the hours of work. Over 1/5 of workers are in part-time work or underemployed. We desperately need to look at how to facilitate people who want more flexible work and to work more hours. Labour introduced a Right to Flexible Work Bill last month and we need to see real and meaningful action from Government to make it happen.”

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