Employers say no need for further rise in minimum wage

Ibec warns Brexit could lead to major growth in gap between UK and Irish minimum wage

Ibec said the minimum wage in Ireland was 7 per cent higher than in the UK and there was no justification for any increase. Photograph: The Irish Times

Ibec said the minimum wage in Ireland was 7 per cent higher than in the UK and there was no justification for any increase. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Employers have argued there is no justification for further increases in the national minimum wage.

The minimum wage increased by 50 cent to €9.15 from the beginning of January. The Low Pay Commission is to look at the rate again later this year under an annual review.

In a submission published on Sunday, the employers group Ibec argued the 50 cent increase recommended by the commission in 2015 was a “mistake” and that it should be cautious in its approach this year.

Ibec said the minimum wage in Ireland was 7 per cent higher than in the UK and there was no justification for any increase. It warned a British exit from the EU could result in a major sterling depreciation, causing this gap to increase to 40 per cent.

Competitiveness threat

“Even before a vote, the UK referendum is already having a significant impact on exchange rates. Uncertainty has pushed the value of sterling lower . . .”

Ms McElwee argued the 2015 increase undermined the case for a further rise this year: “The 2015 decision led to an increase in the minimum wage 6 per cent ahead of inflation and 4 per cent above average wage increases in the economy. The real value of the minimum wage is now 27 per cent higher than when it was introduced.”