Minimum wage still lagging behind living wage, say unions

Minimum wage increase to come into effect in February

The Low Pay Commission recommended the national minimum wage in 2020 be increased by 30c

The Low Pay Commission recommended the national minimum wage in 2020 be increased by 30c

 

The national minimum wage is still lagging behind the living wage, which social campaigners argue is the level of earnings required to provide an acceptable standard of living, trade unions have maintained.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) said on Friday that while the economy in general was roaring ahead, the national minimum wage was still chasing the living wage levels.

The Government this week announced that an increase in the hourly rate of the minimum wage to €10.10, as recommended earlier this year by the Low Pay Commission, will come into effect at the beginning of February. This will be several weeks behind the usual date of the rise due to uncertainty over Brexit.

However Ictu said that the Living Wage Technical Group had earlier this year calculated the hourly pay required by a full-time worker without children to afford a socially acceptable standard of living in 2019 at €12.30, an increase of 40c per hour on 2018.

Living standards

Ictu Industrial Officer Liam Berney said “The national minimum wage is still 40c lower than the €10.50 per hour committed to in the 2016 Programme for Government.”

“The economy is roaring. Rents are soaring. Inflation is below the average rate in the Euro area. Government should not shirk from this opportunity to make a positive impact on the living standards of our lowest-paid workers. Decent wages are of fundamental importance to building a fair and inclusive society.”

“Congress calls on Government to align the national minimum wage as soon as possible with the living wage”.

Ictu general secretary Patricia King said the news this week that the Cabinet had belatedly agreed when to introduce the 30c increase to the minimum wage would end months of uncertainty for the country’s lowest-paid workers.

She said that “130,000 or so workers had been left in limbo over how much their wages will rise next year after the reprehensible decision in Budget 2020 to defer the increase”.

The Low Pay Commission recommended the national minimum wage in 2020 be increased by 30c, from €9.80 to €10.10. Workers on a 39-hours contract will see their gross wage increase by €11.70 a week.