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Retail Ireland call to retain minimum wage “a disgrace” - Gavan

14 September, 2016 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan highlighted a farcical letter he received from Retail Ireland which called for all Oireachtas representatives to lobby against any increase in the minimum wage. 

Senator Gavan said: 

“This morning, I received a bizarre letter from Retail Ireland which basically requested that I lobby the Minister of Finance to retain the National Minimum wage at its current €9.15 rate. 

“This particular body portrays itself as a representative of the entire retail sector in Ireland; however I don’t see how any organisation that is lobbying against the Low Pay Commissions miserly increase of 10c could call itself a representative of workers. 

“When I first read the letter I had to check the date in which it was posted, because not one statistic is from post 2012. They quoted the statistic -‘Between 2007 and 2012 turnover fell by 24%’. That may well be true, but that was almost five years ago.

“The facts are that the retail sector in 2015 grew by 5.1% (CSO figure), and the CBRE came out earlier this year and projected further growth in 2016 – ipso facto, it’s time workers in this sector began to feel some sort of a recovery. 

“What we are seeing is a recovery in the sector, but no recovery for the workers – this is a recipe for permanent poverty wages. 

“Workers across all sectors, especially retail workers, have paid a heavy price for the collapse of the economy and they have received absolutely no share of any so called recovery. 

“Perhaps the most outrageous claim made by Retail Ireland in their letter, was that no increase in the NMW was needed as wages should only increase if the cost of living does! Considering the cost of living in Ireland is 25.1% above the EU average (TASC 2016), and Irish wages are 24% below the EU average (UNITE 2016), I think our workers are over-due an increase. 

"You really do have to question what world some people live in. 

“I will not be supporting Retail Ireland’s call to retain the current NMW, in fact I am calling them out for what they are – a disgrace." 

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