September 8th: Connect, CWU, FSU, SIPTU and Unite have supported the call by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, in its pre-budget submission, for a significant increase in the minimum wage. In a joint statement, the unions said:
“The Government has committed to raising the minimum wage to the level of the living wage before the end of its term of office. The Low Pay Commission has stated that the target for a Living Wage is 66% of median earnings which is projected to exceed €15 by the end of the Government’s lifetime.
“One in five workers in Ireland is classified as low-paid. These workers serve our meals, work in our shops, care for our elderly, pack and move our goods, and much more. While other actions are necessary, it is mainly through significant wage increases that a sustainable resolution to the cost-of-living crisis for all workers can be achieved.
“The Government should also abolish age discrimination in the application of the national minimum wage. Currently, workers under the age of 20 are not legally entitled to the full minimum wage. This should end. All workers, regardless of age, should be entitled to the full minimum wage.
“Time is running out for the Government to achieve its objective of progressing the minimum wage to the level of the living wage in its lifetime. Substantial increases in the minimum wage will be required in the next three years if the Government is to deliver on its living wage promise and it should use the Budget to announce a front-loading of those increases.
“Every additional Euro in the wage packet of a low-paid worker goes back into the economy. Significantly, raising wage floors would thus support consumer spending and reduce the threat of a recession.
“In the medium term, the most effective and sustainable way to raise wages is for workers to organise in unions and for the Government to enact the legislation required to ensure that workers can bargain collectively. In the short term, however, the Government needs to deliver on its living wage promise”, the statement concluded.