Minimum Wage:  Unite seeks €2 increase to €12.50 from November 1st

Union tells Low Pay Commission aim should be to raise wage floor to 66% of median earnings

Low pay is bad for business says Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock

Trade union Unite, which represents workers in all sectors, this week gave a presentation to the Low Pay Commission urging that they recommend an increase in the National Minimum Wage by €2 (19%) to €12.50 from November 1st as part of a two-year strategy to raise the wage floor to 66% of median earnings.

Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock said:

“Low pay is not just bad for individual workers:  it is also bad for business.  A significant increase in the Minimum Wage is required not only to address in-work poverty, but also to boost spending in shops and businesses throughout Ireland. Every additional Euro in the pocket of a low-paid restaurant worker will help secure jobs not just in the hospitality sector but throughout the wider economy, while also boosting Exchequer receipts.”

Unite’s presentation to the Low Pay Commission was given by the union’s Hospitality and Tourism Coordinator Julia Marciniak and Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd.

Julia Marciniak said:

“Too many employers in the hospitality sector have based their business model on low pay, interpreting the Minimum Wage as a ceiling rather than a floor. Failte Ireland research also shows that 16% of hospitality workers earn less than €10 per hour, indicating that some employers are availing of age thresholds to squeeze pay even further.  It is Unite’s position that age thresholds should be abolished and all workers paid the rate for the job. Unite’s own research, carried out last year, found that low pay was the biggest problem identified by workers in the sector and clearly acts as a barrier to retention and recruitment.  Low pay thus undermines the long-term sustainability of this crucial economic sector”.

Jean O’Dowd said:

“The OECD defines low pay as being below 66% of median earnings.  Unite today urged the Low Pay Commission to recommend increasing the National Minimum Wage by €2 for to €12.50 for 2023, and then to €14.95 – or 66% of projected median earnings – for 2024.  Current high rates of inflation have already seen Minimum Wage workers take a real pay cut, which is why Unite is also recommending that the 2023 increase should take effect from November 1st 2022 rather than the following January, as has generally been the case.

“Unite’s proposals are both ambitious and feasible, and we hope they will be reflected in the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to Government”, Ms O’Dowd concluded.

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