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Chair of Low Pay Commission earns €1,000 per meeting yet recommends a miserly 10c increase for workers on the minimum wage – Quinlivan

20 July, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today questioned the usefulness of the Low Pay Commission. Speaking during questions to the Minister for Jobs, Deputy Quinlivan said a 10c increase in the National Minimum Wage proposed by the Commission was a disgrace.

Commenting on the proposal to increase the minimum wage to €10.50 over a five year period, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“How does one get from a rate of €9.15 (the current minimum wage) to €10.50 over five years with a 10c increase?  The answer is you don’t – it’s impossible.

“If the government is making statements about increases in the minimum wage over a five year period, then what is the function of the Low Pay Commission?

“If the government is going to set the rate we have no need for a Commission. What is the role and function of the Commission going forward?

“Yesterday’s recommendation is an insult to workers.  

“This Commission has thus far cost the tax payer almost half a million euro and it has the neck to propose a 10 cent increase in the minimum wage.  

“More than 70,000 workers depend on the minimum wage. 

“The Living Wage is €11.50 per hour. At this rate, it’ll take 23 years for a minimum wage worker to achieve a basic living standard. 

“Combined with the government’s deferral of addressing the exploitation of zero and low hour contracts this month, the recommendation tells us two things.

“That the Low Pay Commission is not fit for purpose and that this government has no interest in tackling low pay, poverty and inequality. 

“The Chair of the Low Pay Commission earned €22,493 from 2015 to the first quarter of 2016. 

“In that period, according to a response to a parliamentary question, he attended 22 meetings. That works out at roughly €1,000 per meeting. 

“This is the very same person who now has the nerve to recommend a 10 cent increase for workers on the minimum wage.

“Surely if ever there was an example of gross hypocrisy, this is it.” 

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