23 September 2020
By Elaine Murphy
If you don’t know how much the minimum wage is then you are lucky, but for many, the minimum wage is effectively the maximum wage.
This is bad news for employees, but good news for businesses. As with so many things in life, it’s a balancing act. Volumes have been written about the topic, should there even be a minimum wage? and if so what should it be? and even if it is set as a rate which appears favourable, it will need to keep pace with inflation. These are high brow issues, but in the short term Governments in Ireland have 5 year terms (if they are lucky) and voters need to see results.
Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry will question Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Dáil today about what Barry calls the “insulting” increase in the national minimum wage being recommended by the Low Pay Commission.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions representatives walked out of the Low Pay Commission last night when it decided to recommend a 10 cent increase in the national minimum wage next year.
The minimum wage rate is currently set at €10.10 per hour and a 10 cent increase would represent an increase of less than 1%.
Construction workers are set to receive increases of nearly three times that amount next month (2.7%).
Deputy Barry says: “Low paid workers in essential jobs played a key role in getting the country through the lockdown earlier this year. The proposal to increase the minimum wage by just 10 cent an hour is an insult to these workers. The Government are due to present the Budget in just three weeks time now – they must be put under real pressure not to insult the low paid with an increase such as this.”
The State’s official rate for a Living Wage – the minimum sum calculated as necessary for an acceptable standard of living – currently stands at €12.30 an hour.
The Socialist Party of which Deputy Barry is a member of the campaign for a national minimum wage of €15 an hour.
Deputy Barry adds: “I think that low paid workers should call on the unions to follow up last night’s walkout from the Low Pay Commission with the launch of a nationwide campaign for a big increase in the minimum wage.”
Deputy Barry will raise the issue in the Taoiseach’s Questions slot on the floor of the Dáil today.