February 26th: Commenting on the latest CSO Earnings and Labour Costs figures released today, Unite Regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said:
“Last year, weekly earnings fell by over one per cent in real terms (after inflation) over 2012.
“When inflation is taken into account, wages are stagnating in the private sector overall, and actually falling in low-paid sectors such as hospitality and administrative services.
“This wage stagnation is set to continue and even worsen: yesterday, the EU Commission predicted that real wages will fall this year and next.
“And Irish wages are already well below levels in other EU-15 countries.
“Low wages and six years of austerity are reflected in the fact that one in every five workers suffers multiple deprivation experiences. They are the working poor.
“Last week, Unite published research showing not only that Irish wages are low when compared to the EU-15, but also that labour costs make up a smaller proportion of business operating costs in Ireland than in other European countries, while Irish profits are rising faster than elsewhere in Europe.
“Ireland needs a wage increase – not only to raise the living standards of workers and families, but also to put more money into cash registers up and down the country.
“Stagnating earnings are bad news for workers, for businesses and for the economy”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.