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Low Pay Commission draft legislation limited in vision and intent – Tóibín

24 March, 2015

Sinn Féin TD and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson Peadar Tóibín today criticised the Junior Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash for limiting the work of the Low Pay Commission to short term consideration of the National Minimum Wage creating uncertainty for workers and businesses. 

Deputy Tóibín said:

“In drafting the legislation for the Low Pay Commission the Junior Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash has replicated the current British Commission, which two recent reports have found is no longer fit for purpose.”

“As is the case in Britain casual low paid insecure work is now entrenched in Ireland’s labour market yet the draft legislation governing the work Low Pay Commissions will do nothing to reverse this trend. Zero hour contracts and low pay are damaging Ireland’s recovery causing real hardship for workers, as we see with the Dunnes Stores workers who have been left with no option but to engage in industrial action in an effort to secure fair pay and secure hours.” 

“Labour and Fine Gael have decided to limit the work of the LPC to consider only short term increases in the National Minimum Wage paid to approximately 5% of all workers, so in effect they are excluding consideration of the wider issues relating to low pay which affects at least a third of all workers.  There is no reference to inequality, poverty, gender, migrant workers, public services access or social protections in the legislation.”  

“Reviews into the Low Pay Commission in Britain have found that its one-step-at-a-time process for setting the minimum wage is now too-short sighted, and its focus is too narrow. Both reports have made innovative evidence based recommendations for widening the remit of the Commission and setting much more ambitious targets for the organisations work.”

“If we are too learn from the British experience then the Low Pay Commission’s terms of reference should be extended to establish it as the primary watchdog on low pay and its responsibilities should be widened to tackle the extent of low pay, not just the minimum wage, and to make long term sector specific recommendations to government.” 

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