The report of the Low Pay Commission is clear in its recommendation that the minimum wage should increase by 30 cent an hour to €10.10. It notes that this assumes an orderly exit by the UK from the EU. The majority report does not say the increase should be delayed. Rather it says the decision may need to be reviewed in the event of ‘hard’ Brexit.
The Fine Gael Government has sided instead with the recommendations from a minority report by three employer representatives rather than that of the majority and appear to have delayed indefinitely the increase.
There is already a provision in law that allows employers to apply to the Labour Court for an exemption if there is an inability to pay with the consent of employees.
The ESRI has shown that the budget hits those on low pay and social welfare the hardest. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have delivered a regressive budget that will leave people poorer and withheld a pay increase for the lowest paid. In the event of a no deal, the cost of living is expected to increase further.
We know from extensive research that minimum wage increases don’t have an impact on employment figures so Fine Gael seem to be protecting those with most at the expense of those who earn the least.
What the Fine Gael Government decision does is benefit those who already have the most. Social progress should not be stalled because of Brexit. We should be prepared to implement the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission. It was established for a key reason to depoliticise the need for regular increases in the minimum wage. It is an indictment of Fine Gael that they have now chosen to undermine the Commission.