Unions and employers split over minimum wage rise
More than 70,000 workers are in line for a 10 cent hike in the €9.15-an-hour national minimum wage under a proposal being considered by the Government.
The Low Pay Commission has recommended the 1pc increase in the statutory wage rate and it will take effect next year if it is adopted.
However, a dissenter on the commission, Edel McGinley, who is director of the Migrant Rights Centre, argued that at this pace it would take 16 years to reach the Programme for Government commitment to increase the rate to €10.50 within five years.
There are already signs of division within Fine Gael over the proposal after Dublin Northwest deputy, Noel Rock, said the Government should go further.
The proposal to increase the minimum wage follows a 50 cent rise in the rate this year. Employers argued the 10 cent an hour increase was too much, while unions described it as "insulting".
Unite regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said the lowest-paid workers would suffer a real pay cut after inflation at a time when profits in some low-paid sectors are soaring. In contrast, the Small Firms Association condemned the increase and said there was an urgent need to control costs "in light of Brexit".