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Shocking figures reveal over 35% of all those in employment earning less than €400 per week – Quinlivan

12 April, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Commenting on figures from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today said these figures reveal the reality that workers across Ireland are not benefitting from the recovery, and most are barely able to make ends meet.

The Limerick City TD said:

“In giving evidence to the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Patricia King, head of ICTU, outlined the extent of the problem of low wages in Ireland. Citing the most recent CSO figures, she revealed that 35% of all workers across Ireland are earning below €400 per week. Ms King went on to say that 75% of all workers in the accommodation and food sector earn €400 or less before tax.

“The issue of low wages has been a persistent problem in Ireland and raising the minimum wage by 10 cent as was the last increase is not enough. The minimum wage now stands at €9.25 – how on earth are people supposed to pay for the rising cost of rent, childcare and car-insurance costs – and have anything left to spend on life. It’s incredibly unfair.

“The Programme for a Partnership Government, agreed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil outlines the intention to raise the minimum wage to €10.50. If their trend of raising it by 10 cent each year continues, it will take until 2030 to reach their target.

“The economy has been growing year on year now; jobs are being created and yet workers continue to get paid the absolute minimum. Many people assume because the economy is growing and more jobs are available, this automatically means a raise in wages; however, these figures prove it doesn’t.

“Thousands of workers rely on the Family Income Supplement in order to have enough money to get by, as a result of not getting paid enough.  Irish citizens put up with austerity for long enough over the last decade, and it is because of them, that now the economy is recovering. They deserve fairer treatment and better wages and we have to address this issue of low paid workers.

“The Government need to introduce a living wage of €11.50 an hour across Ireland, which would provide workers with financial security and allow for a better standard of living.

“I also welcome ICTU’s support of my party colleague Deputy David Cullinane’s Bill on banded hour contracts. Low pay and low wages go together, and this Sinn Féin bill will start to bring about change in the sector.” 

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