EU didn't order minimum wage cut -- union
Published 27/11/2010 | 05:00
THE leader of the country's largest union has dismissed as "nonsense" a minister's claim that European Commissioner Olli Rehn demanded a €1 cut in the minimum wage.
SIPTU general president Jack O'Connor rejected Environment Minister John Gormley's comment that EU bailout officials pushed for the €8.65-an-hour rate to be slashed to €7.65.
His remarks came after Mr Gormley claimed Fine Gael was living in a fantasy land by suggesting the minimum rate did not have to be cut and said it was the EU's first demand of the government.
Mr O'Connor claimed cutting the basic rate of pay was the work of "effective lobbying within Fianna Fail of vested interests".
Speaking after the Irish Congress of Trade Unions met the EU and IMF delegation yesterday, he said that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan had long pushed for a cut in the minimum wage, since he made a speech at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal last year.
In that address in July 2009, Mr Lenihan said if the minimum wage was shown to be an obstacle to job creation in any sector of the economy, the Government would have to address the issue.