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Sinn Féin defeat Government in Vote to Abolish Sub-minimum Wage – Gavan

30 May, 2018 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Workers’ rights in the Seanad, Senator Paul Gavan, has welcomed the progression of his ‘Removal of Sub-minimum Rates of Pay Bill 2017’.

The Bill passed Second stage in the Seanad chamber last evening, despite the government voting against the Bill’s passage.

Sub-minimum rates of pay are currently used by employers to pay over 22,700 workers across Ireland below the national minimum wage – many of those workers being in their 20’s.

Speaking last evening, Senator Gavan said:

“This is a great moment for young people. A decision has been made by the chamber to endorse the principle of equal pay for equal work.

“Sub-minimum rates of pay constitute age discrimination and existing Irish legislation facilitates such exploitation.

“We have workers in their 20’s being paid as little as 80% of the national minimum wage. These workers don’t get a 20% reduction in their cost of living or their rent. Many of them may be living on their own or paying off 3rd level fees. Many young people from working class backgrounds are also expected to work and make contribution to their households. This is the reality for young people in Ireland.

“It is disappointing to see Fine Gael vote against this piece of legislation, however, it’s hardly surprising.

“Fine Gael does not represent young people. They do not fight for workers’ rights. And they certainly do not speak for the 250,000 young workers who have emigrated from this island to escape their low pay policies.

“Indeed, Fine Gael argued during the debate that it’s perfectly fine for experienced workers to still be left stranded on the national minimum wage, even though this itself is two euro below the living wage.

“Going forward, Sinn Féin will continue to work with the broad support that exists across the opposition benches to ensure that this Bill progresses further and is enacted as soon as possible.” 

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