Pathetic kite-flying on tax cuts a smokescreen

25 May 2023
  • Government needs to get real on supporting working people

Supporting ICTU’s call for a €2 increase in the national minimum wage, Labour workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock said it is vital that the lowest paid are supported in the face of the worst cost of living crisis in forty years in this country.

Senator Sherlock said:

“The Government in-fighting on tax cuts is a shocking deflection for the failures of this Government. Even if we were to take the measure in good faith, any proposed tax cut will hardly make a meaningful dent for hard pressed working people.

“It’s clear that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are spending more time in the corridors of Leinster House than they are knocking on doors and speaking to people about the issues facing them. People want to see meaningful investment in public services like healthcare and childcare.

“Labour fully supports ICTU’s calls to increase the minimum wage over the next two years, an end to the two-tier pay system where adults aged 18 and 19 are treated like children and to ensure that apprentices are paid the full minimum wage.

“The Government’s commitment to moving the minimum wage to Living Wage over four years rings very hollow given that national minimum wage as a share of median earnings did not change last year, remained stuck at 51.8% and leaves a lot of heavy lifting to this year and beyond.

“Too many young people, women workers and migrant workers continue to carry out the most vital work in this country for paltry wages. As the ICTU submission points out, despite a 7% increase to the minimum wage for 2023, the incomes of workers on minimum wages have fallen in real terms by 4.4% over the past three years.

“Workers are having to cope with an unprecedented spike in the cost of living, a spike that is affecting every household, individual, family and community across Ireland. The costs of rent, housing, food, childcare and basic services are rising. That’s before we even mention the price gouging going on by the large retailers of basic items like bread and milk. Ireland needs a pay rise.

“Instead of spinning themselves into a tizzy on the airwaves, Labour is calling on Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney to make the Government’s plans to tackle low pay clear immediately.”

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