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Sinn Féin Bill to Abolish Sub-minimum Rates of Pay to be Debated in the Seanad

24 May, 2018 - by Paul Gavan

Next Tuesday (29th) at 6pm, the Seanad will debate Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan’s ‘Removal of Sub-minimum Rates of Pay Bill 2017’.

The Bill, which is co-signed by Independent Senator Lynn Ruane and Sinn Fein Senator Fintan Warfield, would put an end to the exploitative sub-minimum rates of pay - a loophole through which young workers are exploited by businesses.

Sub-minimum rates of pay are currently being used by some employers as a mechanism through which a worker in their first or second year of employment (typically a young person) can be paid as little as 80% of the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Speaking earlier, Senator Gavan said: 

“The reality is that sub-minimum rates of pay constitute discrimination. They are exploitative of young workers and the Irish State should recognise the principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work. 

“We have workers in their 20’s being paid 80% of the National Minimum Wage simply because it’s their first or second year in employment.

"I don’t see these same workers receiving a 20% reduction in the cost of their rent or living expenses. They are doing the same work; they should get the same pay. 

“This is just another way for businesses to take advantage of cheap labour. 

“Due to their nature, these rates of pay exclusively target younger workers. In the words of Geoffrey Shannon, one of the Governments own Special Rapporteur; these rates of pay 'constitute unjust discrimination'. 

"Shannon has called for the NMW to be paid at a minimum to all workers regardless of age or experience, and that is what Sinn Féin is seeking to do this our piece of legislation.

“Mandate the Trade Union has also submitted a paper to the Low Pay Commission on this issue citing serious levels of exploitation in the workplace by employers.

"This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. 

“The concept of sub-minimum rates of pay is outdated and punitive. These rates of pay have been negotiated and totally removed from all collective agreements in Ireland’s retail sector. "And they have been abolished in Germany, Spain, Korea, Canada and in Belgium. It’s about time we did the same in Ireland.” 

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