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50 cent increase a kick in the teeth for low paid workers says Crowe

27 July, 2015 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has called on the Government to ‘return to sender’ the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission for a 50 cent increase on the minimum wage.

Crowe said that the Commission’s Report was a kick in the teeth for low paid workers and the misgivings surrounding the establishment of the Commission now appear justified.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Many people in Irish society have had serious misgivings about the establishment of a Low Pay Commission and these concerns now appear justified. The 50 cent proposal is a kick in the teeth for those trapped on subsistence incomes.

“It is extraordinary that a Commission made up of extremely well paid people, which doesn’t include a single worker on the average wage, or the minimum wage of €8.65 an hour, has the brass neck to recommend a miserly 50 cent increase.

“I welcome the statements of two of the Low Pay Commissioners, Patricia King and Gerry Light, who disagree with the Commission’s recommendation, but you have to wonder what country the other members are living in.

“Many of us have argued that €8.65 per hour falls far short of what a worker requires to meet their basic needs to survive and sustain an individual or a family.

“We know that a large percentage of Irish workers, in fact above the European average, are being forced to survive on incomes that trap them and their families in poverty.

“This should not be acceptable to any section of society, but particularly those in the leadership of the Labour Party, who claim to represent the interests of workers

“The financial shortfall of many low paid workers is also compounded by the fact that employers, particularly, but not exclusively, in the retail industry continue to implement the practice of zero hour contracts.

“The Nevin Institute has calculated such a rate as €16.62 in 2013, which if applied as a formula to the hourly National Minimum Wage, would result in a more realistic hourly rate of €11.08.

“A 50 cent increase for people earning poverty wages is insulting and doesn’t deal with reality.

“The government is saying that a recovery is underway. This 50 cent proposal is another indication that the recovery will not be inclusive and that low paid workers will not be the beneficiaries of any economic recovery under this administration.”

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