New Minimum Wage level welcome but still over €2 short of Living Wage

unite-white-out-of-redLow pay is bad for business says Kelly

July 18th: Unite has welcomed the 30 cent increase to the National Minimum Wage approved by the Cabinet today, but pointed out that the new rate of €9.55 is still over €2 short of the Living Wage, calculated this year as €11.70 per hour.  Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly pointed out that today’s modest increase follows what he described as the ‘derisory’ increase of 10 cents last year.

“Unite has consistently argued that what is needed is a medium-term strategy to bring the Minimum Wage to the Living Wage.  In that context, today’s modest increase only slightly narrows the gap with the Living Wage of €11.70, which has been independently calculated as what is needed to provide a minimum acceptable standard of living.

“Poverty pay is endemic in Ireland: we have one of the highest incidences of low pay in the industrialised economies.

“Low pay is not only bad for workers and their communities – it is also bad for business, resulting in higher staff turnover with the associated costs, reduced productive and low staff morale.

“While today’s modest increase is welcome, it follows on last year’s derisory 10 cent increase and still leaves the Minimum Wage over €2 short of the Living Wage.

“What is needed in the medium term is not only a strategy to align the Minimum Wage with the Living Wage, but also a strategy to bring down costs such as rent, which in Dublin accounts for over 40 per cent of the Living Wage”, Jimmy Kelly said.

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