Monday 23 October 2017

Government to clash over minimum wage hike in Budget

Finian McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Finian McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke

Anne-Marie Walsh

Fine Gael is set to clash with Independent TDs over plans to raise the €9.15-an-hour minimum wage by 10 cent in the Budget.

Super Junior Minister Finian McGrath, pictured above, said he will not be happy if this small increase in the basic statutory rate is announced next week.

Ministers are set to get a draft memo on the proposal before Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O'Connor brings a memo to Cabinet with a recommendation on whether the hike in the pay rate should be accepted.

The 1pc increase was recommended by the Low Pay Commission earlier this year and would bring the wage rate to €9.25 an hour for 70,000 workers.

A worker doing 39 hours a week would earn an extra €3.91 a week if the recommended €9.25-an-hour rate is announced in next week's Budget.

Their weekly wages would rise from €356.85 to €360.75.

"It didn't come up at the Cabinet meeting today and I haven't seen a draft memo on it yet," said Mr McGrath yesterday. "Of course I'm going to raise it. I've always pushed for a living wage."

His colleague in the Independent Alliance and Junior Jobs Minister, John Halligan, has called for the statutory minimum wage to be increased by 25pc to €11.50 an hour over the next two years.

A spokesperson at his office said he was not available for comment yesterday. Isme has accused Mr Halligan of "la la land economics".

However, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Sean Canney, said the rate should not rise beyond 10 cent. "The minimum wage is not something that is paid by the Government and businesses are still recovering," he said.

Irish Independent

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