Call For Greater Minimum Wage Increase

The Independent Alliance has been urged to "flex their muscles" and support member Minister John Halligan's call for the minimum wage to increase by more than the thirty cent recommendation.

Minister Halligan described the recommendation from the Low Pay Commission to raise the rate from €9.25 to €9.55 as "miserly, derisory and quite pathetic".

Calling on the Alliance to support Minister Halligan, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Enterprise and Innovation, Maurice Quinlivan, said: "I welcome the comments made by Minister Halligan recognising the totally inadequate proposal of a thirty cent increase to the minimum wage.

"Last week I described this 3% rise as insulting and unacceptable and I am happy to see a member of this government agree with me on that.

"Today I am calling on the other members of the Independent Alliance to support their colleague and press Fine Gael for a much higher increase for the over 120,000 people who currently struggle to make ends meet on the minimum wage.

"As a coalition partner in this government the Independent Alliance have the authority to reject this insufficient increase and insist a higher rate is introduced. The programme for government gives a commitment to raise the minimum wage to €10.50 per hour, but this will not be achieved by such small increases like this one.

"It comes as no surprise that submissions made to the Low Pay Commission from business groups were universal in calls for no increase in the rate, yet many of these same businesses benefit from the reduced 9% VAT rate and rely on the state to subsidise the wages of over 57,000 workers by means of the FIS payment to the tune of over €420 million per year.

"Sinn Féin supports the living wage of €11.70 per hour and has pledged to introduce it when in government. Workers should be financially rewarded for work done and not left constantly out to dry or on the breadline.

"The recommendation of the Low Pay Commission is just that, a recommendation. The Government can set whatever rate it wishes, so if the Independent Alliance wants a higher rate, they can insist on just that.

"Therefore I am calling on the Independent Alliance to flex their muscles in government and back their colleague's call to ensure a higher minimum wage is introduced."


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