July 19th: Unite today (Sunday July 19th) expressed disappointment at reports that the Low Pay Commission is to recommend that the Minimum Wage be increased by just 50 cent. In its submission to the Commission, Unite had sought a €1 increase. Commenting, the union’s Ireland Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, said:
“Unite’s research has consistently shown that Ireland is a low-wage economy compared with the EU-15. Ten per cent of Irish workers earn only just above the current Minimum Wage of €8.65. The 50 cent increase recommended by the Low Pay Commission will only bring the Minimum Wage to €9.15 – well below the 2015 Living Wage of €11.50 recently calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group.
“Unite has argued that a medium term strategy of increasing the National Minimum Wage to Living Wage levels would have both social and economic benefits. Unfortunately, the minimalist increase proposed by the Low Pay Commission will delay achievement of that goal.
“Once again, it seems that low-paid workers are at the back of the queue when it comes to sharing in the fruits of recovery.
“The question is not whether we can afford to tackle low pay. The question is whether we can afford not to tackle low pay”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.