Real cut in the minimum wage rise shows Government’s head is in the clouds

Senator Marie Sherlock
13 September 2022

Labour Party spokesperson on employment rights Marie Sherlock has tonight (13th September) said the proposed increase in the minimum wage amounts to a real cut in wages for the lowest paid as we face double digit inflation .

The six month wait to January 2023 is simply intolerable as more and more people face poverty this winter.

Senator Sherlock said:

“This increase reflects a Government who has no real understanding of the enormous challenges low wage workers are facing right now. The reality is that the Tanaiste has sat on this recommendation from the Low Pay Commission since July and is now engaging in an exercise of optics and news management ahead of the Budget. It will be six full months before these workers get this money in their pocket. It is too little and too late.

We believe that wage rises are a critical part of what is needed to resolve the current cost of living crisis for workers. Yet the value of the increase means that workers in 2023 will be worse off, in real terms, than they were in 2022.

The latest energy price increases announced in recent weeks means that there is a very real prospect of inflation breaching 10% and heading into double digits this winter.

We also know that some employers are facing enormous challenges which threaten the very survival of the workplace. It is critical that Government moves fast to ensure that a short term work scheme and emergency business supports are in place to secure workplaces and worker’s livelihoods.

For over 6 months we’ve called for, at a minimum, an increase of €1 to take the National Minimum wage to €11.50 but as prices keep rising what’s needed now is a minimum wage closer to €12.

We are also disappointed that the Government has not chosen to end age discrimination in the application of the national minimum wage. Currently, workers under the age of 20 are not legally entitled to the full minimum wage. This should end. We know from talking to school leavers and to those working to put themselves through college that they are at the pin of their collar. All workers, regardless of age, should be entitled to the full minimum wage.

“Every single additional euro in the wage packet of a low-paid worker goes straight back into the local economy and protects jobs. That must be the priority heading into the winter.”

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