Saturday 10 December 2016

Nash set to recommend 50c minimum wage rise

Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30

A source last night indicated that Mr Nash will 'be strongly recommending' that the Government accept a minimum wage increase
A source last night indicated that Mr Nash will 'be strongly recommending' that the Government accept a minimum wage increase

Employment Minister Ged Nash is expected to "strongly recommend" to Government that the minimum wage should be increased by almost 6pc to €9.15 an hour, as businesses branded the move "inexplicable".

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The Low Pay Commission delivered a report to the Super Junior Minister at the weekend, recommending that the minimum wage should be increased by 50c per hour.

A source last night indicated that Mr Nash will "be strongly recommending that the Government accept this".

Workers across the country who are in receipt of the minimum wage, which has been set at €8.65 since 2011, have welcomed the move as it will bring a boost of up to €1,014 for many.

However, business lobby groups criticised its recommendations.

Ibec last night warned that any increase is "at odds with all economic evidence".

Danny McCoy, Ibec CEO, said: "Given the economic evidence available, it is inexplicable how such a rise could be proposed.

"Prices across the economy are below where they were in 2008 and the real value of the minimum wage has actually increased during the crisis.

"Many businesses still cannot afford pay increases, and turnover in sectors such as retail remains up to 20pc below the pre-crisis peak. Sixty percent of domestic services companies, for example, are not able to afford pay increases this year.

"If the Government accepts the recommendation, it is vital that the Budget reduces employer PRSI to off-set the negative labour cost implications."

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) said that the increase to the minimum wage "will have a devastating effect" on the sector and they believe it will lead to job losses.

"Ireland will have the second highest minimum wage in Europe after Luxembourg and our competitiveness will be destroyed," Adrian Cummins, the RAI chief executive, added.

Isme, the body representing small and medium businesses, described it as another blow to their members and accused the Low Pay Commission of having "a total lack of independence".

Mark Fielding, chief executive of Isme, said the recommendation is similar to the increase granted recently in the public sector pay deal and represents a "triumph of politics over economics".

Meanwhile, trade union Unite also expressed its disappointment for different reasons - after recommending that the minimum wage should be increased by as much as €1.

It is expected that the report will be published tomorrow and will form part of a range of Government measures to deliver returns to both workers and employers in the next Budget.

Irish Independent

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