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CSO figures on minimum wage reinforce need for a living wage - David Cullinane TD

26 April, 2017 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Workers Rights David Cullinane TD has said figures published by the CSO on the minimum wage show that the economy is being built on low pay and precarious employment.

Deputy Cullinane was responding to new figures from the Central Statistics Office which show that 10.1% of employees surveyed earned the National Minimum Wage or less last year.

Speaking today Deputy Cullinane said:

"It is obvious that this Government is content to build an economy on low pay, if and when contracts and precarious work. This is unacceptable and unsustainable. Low pay is often subsidised by the state and is part of the race to the bottom.

"The Low Pay Commission is too narrow in its focus. It does not address low pay in all its facets and is fixated on the minimum wage. It is worrying that one in ten workers are on the minimum wage or less. The low pay commission should become the Living Wage commission.

"The Living Wage is based on two thirds of the median wage. It is the minimum a worker needs to earn to provide for themselves and their families. Far too many workers are trapped in low paid jobs with uncertain hours and poor terms and conditions of employment. Women make up the majority of the ranks of the low paid.

"In 2015 I published a comprehensive report on behalf of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on low pay and the living wage. It was signed off on by all parties but its recommendations have not been implemented.

"We need a strategy to tackle low pay, if and when contracts and precarious work. It needs to be underpinned by a commitment to decent work and decent pay. We must incrementally move towards a living wage.

"Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have voted against all legislation introduced by Sinn Fein to enhance the rights of workers. They failed to support our bill on low hour contracts. Only a Government involving Sinn Fein will truly address low pay and exploitation in the workplace." 


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