3% increase in minimum wage ‘insulting’ – Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and innovation, Maurice Quinlivan TD, has today criticised the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission to increase the minimum wage by just 3% to €9.55 per hour.
Teachta Quinlivan said this rise is insulting to all those on the minimum wage, as the increase is dwarfed by the spiralling cost of living due to rent, insurance, transport and childcare.
The Limerick City TD said;
“I was extremely disappointed this time last year when the Low Pay Commission recommended a paltry ten cent rise in the minimum wage, and I am just as disappointed with this insignificant rise today.
“How are people supposed to survive on such a low rate of pay? The average nationwide rent in 2017 is €1,131 per month, yet this increase will mean someone working 40 hours a week will earn €1,509 after tax each month. This will leave that worker with €378 for food, clothes, electricity, gas, car insurance, fuel and other costs. It is outrageous.
“Taoiseach Varadkar’s affection for people who get up early in the morning is well documented, but people who get up early in the morning to work and earn the minimum wage are clearly not included.
"This small increase is insulting to these 120,000 people and highlights the right-wing agenda of the new Taoiseach and his Government.
“The Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael Programme for a Partnership Government gives a commitment to raise the minimum wage to €10.50 per hour. Fianna Fáil, as the de-facto coalition partner in this Government, have the authority to reject this increase and ensure a higher one is introduced immediately.
"However, the last time they touched the minimum wage, they cut it by €1 an hour, so personally I do not believe Fianna Fáil can be trusted to do anything to help workers.
“The number of families on the Family Income Supplement (FIS) stands at over 57,000 this year. These are people who are out working, but because of the low minimum wage, cannot make ends meet. €422 million will be spent by the State in 2017 supplementing wages for workers, while employers and businesses reap the rewards of this work in large profits.
“The Living Wage stands at €11.70 per hour. This is a wage which makes a minimum acceptable standard of living possible. That is not an unacceptable ambition.
"Sinn Féin supports the Living Wage and has pledged to introduce it when in Government. Workers should be financially rewarded for work done and not left constantly out to dry or on the breadline.
“The recommendation of the Low Pay Commission is just that, a recommendation. The Government can introduce whatever rate it wants, so it is a clear choice for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil at the end of the day.”