Press Centre

Underhanded Approach to Cutting the Minimum Wage Must Be Stopped

JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT: 7 December 2010

It appears that the government, in what can only be considered as a deeply undemocratic and unjust move, will attempt to legislate for a €1 cut to the minimum wage over the coming days.  This will most likely happen in the form of an amendment tacked on to legislation such as the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No.2) Bill, the Financial Emergency  Measures in the Public Interest (No.2) Bill or other legislation to be rushed through in the coming days.

The manner in which the cut to the minimum wage is apparently to be legislated for is seriously flawed and undermines democratic principles of accountability and process.  Rushing a decision by including this in other legislation will deny TDs the right to properly consider and debate this critical issue.

There is no rationale for this draconian move other than the obvious intent of this government to embed a low-waged labour market strategy, and to ensure that the ‘race to the bottom’ is actively facilitated.

Approximately 5% of the working population survives on an income of €8.65 per hour.  Fianna Fáil and the Green Party are hell bent on pushing the poorest paid workers in this country deeper into poverty.  Ordinary people know that generating greater security and stability in society and in our economy can only really be achieved by a bottom-up approach, i.e. by protecting low paid workers.  We, to our detriment, know that the approach of protecting those at the top does not work in society’s favour.

Cutting the minimum wage at this time will not only hurt workers surviving on a shoestring but will also damage consumer spending and the economy.  It will not generate any new jobs, nor will it help to reduce the government deficit.

It will disproportionately impact on women, who represent six out of ten minimum wage workers, and will substantially increase the gender pay gap. Young people will also be disproportionately hit by such a move.

This government does have other options to address the constraints being faced by small and medium enterprises, such as tackling the fixed costs that are crippling businesses.

We refuse to accept that this unnecessary and savage attack on the lowest paid will be allowed to become law in this country. The public at large is appalled by the announcement that this was the government’s intention. There is a threshold of decency that we will not allow our society to cross.

MANDATE

MIGRANT RIGHTS CENTRE IRELAND

NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL OF IRELAND

NATIONAL WOMEN’S COUNCIL

THE POOR CAN’T PAY

SIPTU

UNITE

COMMUNITY PLATFORM, which includes:

ATD 4th World,

Age Action Ireland,

Community Action Network,

Community Workers Cooperative,

Cairde,

Debt & Development Coalition, Ireland,

European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland,

Focus Ireland,

Gay and Lesbian Equality Network,

Immigrant Council of Ireland,

Irish Association of Older People,

Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed,

Irish Penal Reform Trust,

Irish Refugee Council,

Irish Rural Link,

Irish Traveller Movement,

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland,

National Adult Literacy Agency,

National Traveller Women’s Forum,

National Women’s Council of Ireland,

Older Women’s Network,

OPEN,

Pavee Point,

Rape Crisis Network Ireland,

SAFE Ireland,

Simon Communities of Ireland,

Threshold,

Voluntary Drug Treatment Network,

Vincentian Partnership for Justice,

Women’s Aid.

ENDS