Friday 9 December 2016

Labour Party pledges €11.30 an hour minimum wage

Barry Lennon and Agency

Published 04/02/2016 | 12:12

Joan Burton. Photo: Arthur Carron
Joan Burton. Photo: Arthur Carron

The Labour Party has struck first on the first full day of the election campaign with a commitment for workers to earn at least 11.30 euro an hour.

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With economic plans dominating, Tanaiste Joan Burton reiterated the promise to have full employment in the country in the next two years and she also vowed to create 50,000 apprenticeships by 2021.

The minimum wage increased to 9.15 euro at the end of last year but the Labour leader said it is realistic to commit to a further two euro-an-hour increase despite opposition from business.

The Tanaiste said her party's plan would create 150,000 jobs by 2018.

In a package costed at 954 million euro in total, she also pledged to rewrite welfare rules to develop a new Working Family Benefit which would allow low paid working parents to earn at least 12 euro an hour, with qualification for the new system based on people's income rather than the hours they work.

"Behind every job is a person or family benefiting from recovery in their own lives," Ms Burton said.

Other initiatives set out by Labour at the Boann Distillery in Drogheda included creating 15,000 manufacturing jobs over the next four years, another 10,000 places through the JobsPlus programme which gives employers grants when they hire someone who has been long-term unemployed, and keeping corporation tax at 12.5%.

The Tanaiste also reiterated Labour's childcare plan which was unveiled last month, including an immediate cap on creche costs at 4.25 euro an hour which would come down to two euro an hour by 2021.

Tanaiste Joan Burton said that voters don't want Ireland to become Greece or Spain and will vote for Labour.

She dismissed a drop in the party's support in this morning's opinion polls, saying "it looks like we'll have a poll every third day."

Ms Burton said that voters will realise they "want stability" and then choose to return to this Government.  

"They won't want a situation like a Greece or Spain where we won't be able to form a Government," she said at the launch of her party's jobs plan this morning.

Labour (7pc) and Fine Gael (28pc) this morning is too small to make the next Government.

Ms Burton also spoke about the confusion surrounding the fiscal space, calling it "a fancy term for the Government's ability to spend money."

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