Date Released: 21 July 2015
Trade unions will continue the fight for the introduction of a living wage of €11.50 following the reported recommendation by the Low Pay Commission of a 50 cent increase in the minimum wage.
According to SIPTU president, Jack O’Connor, a 50 cent increase for those on the minimum wage is less than the two trade union representatives on the Commission had sought. He claimed that the more numerous employer interests on the Commission had resisted any increase.
“IBEC and the other business organisations have always opposed increases in the minimum wage. They told us when it was introduced about fifteen years ago that employment would collapse in the country and so on. In fact, employment increased dramatically.
“They’re on the record as far back as the 1970s when equal pay was introduced as declaring that any improvement for workers would be the end of the world. They don’t really believe that themselves - it’s just that they don’t want to pay.
“The Living Wage technical group involving various non-governmental organisations and trade union research departments conducted a very exhaustive study last year and concluded that it requires €11.50 an hour for anyone to live with any sort of decent life in this country.
“That is what we will be advocating in the months ahead as the economy improves and workers across the public and private sectors see pay restoration and increases in their wages,” he said.
Over 30% of workers in Ireland are on low pay - the second highest low earnings rate in the OECD.