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Minimalist Increase proposed on Minimum Wage – Crowe

21 July, 2017 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West and Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has described the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission to increase the minimum wage by 3% to €9.55 per hour as mean, minimalist, and inadequate to many of those currently trapped in poverty and on low incomes.

Deputy Crowe said the proposed payment to those on the minimum wage, was dwarfed by the spiralling cost of living due to hikes in basics like rent, insurance, transport, and childcare.

Deputy Crowe said:

“I was extremely disappointed this time last year when the Low Pay Commission recommended a paltry ten cent rise in the minimum wage, and I am equally disappointed with this mean minimalist and inadequate rise suggested today. This comprehensive review effectively means that someone on a 39 hour week will get a miserly €10 weekly extra.

“This proposed increase is dwarfed by the real cost of living and will mean in reality that all those trapped in poverty and debt will remain in there

“The average nationwide rent in 2017 is €1,131 per month, yet this increase will mean someone working 40 hours a week will earn approximately €1,509, after tax, each month. This will leave that worker with €378 for food, clothes, electricity, gas, car insurance, fuel, and other costs.

 “It is simply not sustainable and traps people in a cycle of poverty.

“The Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael Supply and Confidence Agreement gives a commitment to raise the minimum wage to €10.50 per hour. Unfortunately, the last time Fianna Fail tweaked the minimum wage, they cut it by €1 an hour.

“The number of families now on the Family Income Supplement (FIS) stands at over 57,000 this year. These are individuals who work hard in low paid jobs, but because of the low minimum wage, cannot in many cases, make ends meet. A whopping €422 million will be spent by the State in 2017 supplementing the wages of these workers, while many of their employers reap the rewards of this work in increased profits.

“The Living Wage in Ireland stands at €11.70 per hour. This is a wage which makes the minimum acceptable standard of living possible.

“Sinn Féin supports this concept of a Living Wage and has pledged to introduce it when in Government. Workers should be financially rewarded for their work and not left to the goodwill or mood swings of employers.

“I believe the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission on pay are just that, a recommendation. The Government can in reality introduce whatever rate it wants, so that is real the challenge for the current Government and those in Fianna Fáil who support them.

“There is another way, a fairer route that moves society towards a Living Wage or we can continue with the current mean and minimum wage approach that traps people in poverty.” 

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