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Labour in government fails workers once more – Cullinane

21 July, 2015 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin Senator and Spokesperson for Workers’ Rights David Cullinane has expressed his disappointment that the Government will back the proposal from the Low Pay Commission to only increase the minimum wage by 50 cents an hour.

Reiterating the comments of his colleague Peadar Tóibín TD at the weekend, this will mean that a person working 39 hours a week will earn €356.85, an increase of €19.50 a week. This is well below the 2/3's of the median wage which the minimum wage was originally designed to track in order to keep people out of poverty and that such an increase would be swallowed immediately by rising rents and the withdrawal of welfare supports of many low-earners.

Senator Cullinane said:

“The government had a choice; that it could reject the recommendation of the Commission and increase the minimum wage by €1. It has failed to do so, even when ICTU, Social Justice Ireland, the St Vincent de Paul, TASC, NERI and organisations from across civil society have called for the introduction of a ‘Living Wage’.

“Decent pay and good working conditions are good for society and good for the economy. In-work poverty, low pay, and exploitation of workers are costly for society and depress spending power.

“A fifty cent increase in the minimum wage will have absolutely no impact on the issue of in-work poverty or on growing inequality in our society. Sinn Féin have repeatedly called for an initial increase of at least €1 with a guaranteed progression to a Living Wage over a three to four year period.

"Costly in-work social protection supports whilst vital for families to ensure they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their head, also act as a subsidy to poor paying businesses. This is likely to continue under the government’s regime.  

“It had been my hope that those who still wear the mantle of the Labour party in government would recognise the almost immaterial impact of the 50c increase in the light of rising rents and removal of welfare supports and make a stand for workers and workers’ rights. This has not happened. Once again, Labour have failed workers.”

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