Raise minimum wage in Budget, demands union
TRADE union Unite has called for a hike in the minimum wage in the Budget to €9.20 and no more cuts to public spending.
In its pre-Budget submission, the union said the Government would still meet its targets without imposing further spending cuts and claimed the move would act as a form of stimulus for the economy.
It claimed consumer spending would rise by €1bn and employment would go up by 17,000.
Unite regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said austerity was strangling the growth needed to create sufficient jobs and get people spending again.
"We need to start looking beyond austerity. That does not mean going back to business as usual – to an economy reliant on property-related activities and speculation," Mr Kelly said.
Unite has 60,000 members across the island in the public and private sectors.
Key proposals include:
* A halt to spending cuts.
* An increase in employers' PRSI on salaries above €100,000.
* A special investment programme equivalent to 1pc of the value of the economy to be funded from the sale of Irish Life and Bank of Ireland bonds.
* An increase in the minimum wage to €9.20. It is €8.65.
Meanwhile in its pre-Budget submission the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has called for a temporary VAT rate of 9pc to be introduced for the construction sector for two years.
It also called for unemployed apprentices and craftspeople to retain social welfare entitlements while undergoing retraining programmes and an enhanced capital allowance for energy efficiency works on commercial buildings.
CIF director general Tom Parlon said the Budget represented an opportunity "to encourage growth in the economy".