The government’s announced 80c increase to the minimum wage is not enough, say the three largest trade unions representing low-paid workers.
Mandate, Unite the Union, and SIPTU, have all criticised the planned increase, saying that as it does not match inflation, it amounts to a wage cut in real terms.
In their pre-budget submission, Mandate, which represents over 30,000 workers in the retail and hospitality industries, stated the minimum wage should be increased to a living one of €14 per hour.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary John Hogan said “we want the minimum wage to be a living wage […] we believe that in this day and age there’s no space for a minimum wage given the cost-of-living”.
Unite, along with other members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, supported the Congress’ call for the minimum wage to exceed €15 per hour by the end of the government’s lifetime.
However, SIPTU claim that at the current rate of increase, this goal in unattainable, with the wage not expected to reach the desired level for at least another 10 years.
The Low Pay Commission (LRC), which heard inputs from representatives of both employers and employees, as well as independent policy experts, made the non-binding recommendation to the government in its report published in September.
However, employee representatives dissented from the decision, arguing that “ The Low Pay Commission’s recommendation […] fails to vindicate the living standards of low-paid workers and threatens the introduction of a living wage as per the recent Government’s proposals”.