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Trade Unions slam minimum wage cut and tax hikes

The Mandate trade union blasts the “double whammy” of cutting wages for the worst off, while also taxing them.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S leading trade unions has slammed the publication of the government’s four-year budgetary strategy, describing it as a merciless “double whammy” on the country’s poorest.

In a joint statement issued with the Migrant Rights Centre, trade union Mandate argues that the current government – as well as any future government formed after the next election – should prioritise economic growth through the development of high-wage jobs instead of trying to bring the lowest earners into the tax net.

Mandate general secretary John Douglas said the lowering of the minimum wage by €1 an hour – from €8.65 to €7.65 – undermined the point of the minimum wage, which was to recognise the wage equality that already existed in Ireland.

“Now, more and more households are struggling to get out of debt,” Douglas said. “Every person in Ireland knows they will be punished for the greed of a few, and the mismanagement of our economic affairs.

“The time has come for this Government and its successor to implement an economic strategy that shares the pain proportionately and equally – unfortunately the four-year plan does not do this,” Douglas added.

Migrant Rights Centre director Siobhán O’Donoghue said the cut to the minimum wage would not generate much savings for the government.

“Cutting the wages of the lowest-paid workers will only degrade working conditions and lead to a decrease in productivity, damage consumer spending, and will place those with the lowest incomes, including migrant workers, in an impossible situation,” she said.

“This is all the more pointless when we know that it is the lower-wage earners who spend proportionately more.”

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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