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Union calls for €1 hike to minimum wage

Trade union Unite wants the minimum wage to be increased by €1 per hour to help those "stuck in poverty".

The union, which has 100,000 members in Ireland and Northern Ireland, is calling on the Government to "lead the drive against low pay" by increasing the minimum wage by almost 12pc.

The minimum wage is currently set at €8.65 per hour. Unite's regional secretary in Ireland, Jimmy Kelly, yesterday said the rate should be increased as "the reality is that people work but are stuck in poverty".

"Every worker has a fundamental right to a living wage, a wage that allows workers an adequate living standard.

"Over 300,000 workers - one-in-five people in the workforce - live in deprivation conditions in the Republic," Mr Kelly told delegates during a debate on employment rights at the closing day of the Unite policy conference in Croke Park.

"Pay rises are part of the solution. That's why Unite, in its submission to the Low Pay Commission, has called for a €1 per hour increase in the minimum wage.

"But we need more, including a radical extension and strengthening of the Joint Labour Committee, a living wage clause introduced into all public sector procurement contracts and implementation of the EU directive that gives stronger rights to part-time workers to take up full-time work," he said.

Mr Kelly told the conference that "a national drive, led by the Government" is needed to bring low pay to an end. Emma Jane Hade

Irish Independent