Fine Gael interference with Low Pay Commission is dangerous

14 May 2024
  • Attempts to lean on the independent statutory body is Fine Gael’s ‘we’ve had enough of experts’ moment

Labour’s Enterprise spokesperson Ged Nash TD today condemned Fine Gael’s attempt to slow the rate of increase for the national minimum wage by influencing the Low Pay Commission (LPC), an independent statutory body.

Deputy Nash said:

“The LPC was established by Labour principally to provide objective, evidence-based recommendations on the national minimum wage.

“There are now very public efforts being made by Fine Gael to exert influence over this statutorily independent body to slow the rate of increase towards a real Living Wage for the very lowest paid workers in Ireland.

“Fine Gael is setting a dangerous precedent. The minimum wage must be a floor beneath which no worker should fall, ensuring fair pay for all based on solid evidence.

“The LPC is already obliged in the 2015 Act to considers numerous factors, including trading conditions and competitiveness, when making its annual July recommendations on the rate of the National Minimum wage for the following year.

“Fine Gael’s abject attempt to very publicly meddle in the LPC’s work is shaping up to be Fine Gael’s ideologically-driven ‘we’ve had enough of experts moment’.

Furthermore, Nash pointed out the implications of the new European Union Directive, which mandates that all member states must ensure a living wage for all workers by 2026. “This Directive will require the State to set a living wage at 60% of hourly median earnings. Any effort to slow down wage increases will put Ireland at odds with our EU counterparts. Compliance with this Directive is not optional; it will be a legal obligation.

“We have a significant problem with low pay in this country. Over 20% of our workforce is experiencing low pay. This is not an economic model we can or should stand over. A fair minimum wage is crucial to ensuring economic justice and stability, and to stem the rise of support for the far-right.”

“Fine Gael must stop leaning on the Low Pay Commission. It is critical that the LPC is allowed to perform its duties without interference. The integrity of an independent statutory body is at stake, and any attempt to put political pressure on the body and its expert members would set a dangerous precedent.”


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