Government must take the lead and provide pay rises for squeezed workers

25 July 2022
  • Government sitting on Low Pay Commission recommendation on minimum wage 
  • Report must be published now and rise introduced in October, not January 

Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash has said both private and public sector workers need an immediate and significant pay rise to combat the cost of living crisis.

Responding to Bank of Ireland’s Economic Pulse survey, Deputy Nash said as inflation runs higher, living standards are falling fast.

Deputy Nash said:

“The Tanaiste will have received the Low Pay Commission’s report on a proposed new rate for the National Minimum Wage by last Tuesday at the latest. He should publish the report now and introduce an increase in the rate in October. Low paid workers who are being hit hardest by the cost of living crisis cannot wait until the 1st of January.

“Labour has been arguing for months that Ireland needs a pay rise. With runaway inflation and fresh concerns over winter energy blackouts, workers in the public service, like workers in the private sector, cannot wait any longer. They need certainty now.

“The reality is a huge amount of workers in the public service are in low and middle income jobs and they are struggling to put food on the table and like so many people across Ireland are not able to cope with the dramatic increases in the cost of living. Government must get a grip on that. We are calling on Government to reengage realistically with unions and public sector workers on the pay talks, and show some imagination and urgency to avoid the potential for disputes this autumn.

“All workers across the country desperately need a pay rise to meet the costs of food, energy, transport, childcare and fuel prices. We all know wages are struggling to keep up with inflation with real incomes falling for the first time since 2013. However, with reports that Irish companies are planning to increase pay by approximately 4%, workers will still be picking up the tab for inflation which is currently 9.6%. These ‘pay rises’ represent effective pay cuts in real terms.

“The current economic situation can leave the government in no doubt that we are living in a low wage republic, and that is simply not good enough. One in five workers in Ireland are low paid and Ireland needs a pay rise. We know increases in take home pay can do the heavy lifting to protect people from spiralling inflation – especially for those who are experiencing the sharp end of rising energy, fuel, and food prices. We need to see greater action on the move to a Living Wage to provide for peoples’ everyday wants and needs.

“During the pandemic we were told we were all in this together. Government has the power to take a lead. They can start by moving to introduce a living income for all their own staff and those providing support services in the public sector.”

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