Government’s Living Wage plan is a work of fiction

Senator Marie Sherlock
18 November 2022

• No improvement planned next year to move NMW towards 60% of median earnings.
• Government continues to drag heels defending security workers.

Labour spokesperson on workers’ rights, Senator Marie Sherlock has today (Friday, 18th November) said the Government’s Living Wage plan for 2023 is a work of fiction, stressing that there is no improvement planned to move the National Minimum Wage (NMW) towards 60% of median earnings next year.

Senator Sherlock said:

“The Government says it is launching a plan to improve wages for low paid workers but the reality is they are doing nothing about it. In 2022, NMW was 51.8%of expected median earnings. In 2023, NMW will be 51.8% of expected median earnings. Yet when we see what is actually happening the minimum wage next year- there will be zero progress in getting to that target.

“To add insult to injury for low wage workers, there is nothing in the Government’s plan to fix the sub minimum rates. Young workers aged 18 and 19 who are deemed to be adults by the State and yet are treated like children in the context of the payment of the minimum wage.

“Already, many of us were skeptical of a plan set out by the Government that goes on beyond the lifetime of this Government. What’s happening now is that this Government has decided it is not going to do anything substantive on living wage now but effectively hand it over to the next Government. The reality is that the next Government will not have a choice- they’ll have to do it to comply with the adequate minimum wage directive agreed by the EU council in November. What is happening now is that they are kicking the can down the road. It is as simple as that.

“And of course, the irony of all this in the Government’s launch of their Living Wage plan is that all this has taken place in the week where this Government continues to fail security workers in this country- people who have a very modest income, who had a pay deal with their employers, who were reliant on the Minister just to sign the pay deal into law. Instead, the Government sat on their hands when they were injuncted from signing the pay deal and didn’t bother for many weeks to respond to the court.

“It is 12 weeks since that injunction was sought and this week, the judicial review of the security ERO was in for mention in the High Court but as expected, the hearing has been put back – leaving security workers to face the winter with no pay increase.”

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