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Blog  »  July 2017  »  Minimum Wage to increase by 30c - Blog
19
Jul 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Minimum Wage to increase by 30c

Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has welcomed proposals from the Low Pay Commission to increase the national minimum wage to €9.55 from 1st January 2018. “It’s an increase well ahead of inflation, well ahead of average wage growth in the economy. It is modest, it works out at about an extra €12 per week but it is still an important step in the right direction” he said.

It would be the fourth increase in the minimum wage since 2011, the third in the last two years and the second under this Government. But it should be seen as a further step towards the Programme for Government commitment for a minimum wage of €10.50, the Taoiseach added.

Although the move has been welcomed in political circles, Retail Ireland warned it could impact on jobs in the sector. Thomas Burke, the director of retail Ireland said; “With little to no inflation in consumer goods and growing concern over the impact Brexit is already having on the retail sector, there is absolutely no economic basis for a further increase to the minimum wage. Such a rise at this juncture would significantly affect retailers’ ability to remain competitive against a backdrop of falling prices and rising costs within the industry.”

The Irish Business ad Employers Confederation (IBEC) argued that the minimum wage here is already one of the highest in Europe and with this increase would be 12% higher than that in the UK. It called on Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, who will oversee the changes, to delay the implementation.

“Workers need a pay rise to keep pace with the increasing cost of living in Ireland …but these employers must be supported to absorb the cost of pay increases in a way that doesn’t harm their competitiveness.” Said Niall Collins, the Fianna Fail enterprise spokesman.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office last April showed that 10.1% of employees earned the National Minimum Wage or less in that year. Tánaiste Fitzgerald said the increase “offers support to people and creates better opportunities to benefit from a better wage.”