Tug of war being played out in public between coalition partners on minimum wage – FF

Croke ParkFianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Dara Calleary TD has accused the Government of jeopardising workers’ pay by proposing plans to introduce a system to allow for the reduction of the minimum wage.  The measure is contained in the Department of Finance’s submission to the Low Pay Commission, which exposes serious internal differences between Fine Gael and Labour policy on the national minimum wage.
Deputy Calleary commented, “It appears that the Government’s internal wranglings over the national minimum wage are now being played out in the public arena.  Ministers Noonan and Bruton have come out warning of risks if the rate is increased while the Tánaiste has previously talked of a living wage being introduced, and Minister Nash is on record saying he favours increasing the minimum wage.

“It will be very interesting to see whether the Minister implements the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission when they report back in July to him. As we are in the lead up to a General Election, every decision taken by the coalition will have been election proofed to secure votes.
“As Fine Gael and Labour battle out a public lobbying campaign, this will come as little comfort to the thousands of workers on low pay and low hour contracts. In our recent submission to the Low Pay Commission, Fianna Fáil recommended increasing the national minimum wage (NMW) by 6.4% to bring it up to €9.20 per hour. This decision was carefully balanced against any adverse effect on national employment and competitiveness, while representing an increase in gross pay of over €1,000 per annum for each worker.
“We believe that the focus should be on low paid people and improving job security. Priority must be given to supporting those on low and middle earnings, who are finding it hard to meet their weekly financial commitments. The coalition must stop playing politics and PR games with this vital issue. I call on the Minister to state what is the Government’s position on increasing the minimum wage is to bring clarity to the matter”.