THE Government has been asked to introduce a living wage in October’s budget to help tackle low pay and the cost-of-living crisis for workers instead of waiting four years to do so.
The call came from Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan who said that while the announcement by the Tánaiste that the government intends to implement a Living Wage by 2026 is welcome, it should be done much sooner.
“The reality is workers cannot wait this long – the measure should be introduced in the budget in October”, Deputy Quinlivan declared.
“The Tánaiste should consider using the living wage set by the Living Wage Technical Group instead of trying to set a lower rate using 60 per cent of the median wage as the figure. I remain very concerned as to what the Tánaiste considers to be a living wage.
“The Living Wage Technical Group calculated the true living wage as €12.90 an hour in 2021, this will no doubt increase in 2022 when they make their recommendations based on the Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL) formula.
“By contrast, under the model proposed by the Tánaiste, workers would be worse off by close to a euro an hour, and they would have to wait four years for it,” he claimed.
“In the past number of months there has been increases in rents, fuel, food and energy costs which has meant the cost of living has spiralled out of control for workers. People are really struggling.
“There is an immediate need to move to a living wage to tackle low pay and the cost-of-living crisis. Germany has just increased their minimum wage to €12 an hour, a 22 per cent increase, to tackle low pay.
“Sinn Féin has campaigned for and supported the introduction of a living wage for years. We have again published another plan outlining how to immediately deliver a living wage with appropriate legal protections for businesses who can show they cannot afford it.
“I would call on the government to work with Sinn Féin and all those committed to a living wage and begin preparations to deliver it in Budget 2023.”