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Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said he has Taoiseach Enda Kenny's full support over plans to cut the pay of low earners

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said he has Taoiseach Enda Kenny's full support over plans to cut the pay of low earners

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said he has Taoiseach Enda Kenny's full support over plans to cut the pay of low earners

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said he has Taoiseach Enda Kenny's full support as he remained committed to plans to cut the pay of low earners despite concern from Labour TDs.

Mr Bruton said radical reform is needed in how wages are set and said the Government has charged him with developing proposals.

But a number of Labour backbenchers have expressed concern at the plans to reduce overtime and Sunday premiums, which would affect 200,000 workers in service areas such as hotels, catering, hairdressing and security.

Mr Kenny played down his description of the move as a "personal agenda" for Mr Bruton, which had sparked speculation of Cabinet tension and a solo-run by the senior minister. "People shouldn't be reading things into it. This is not what some people want it to be," Mr Kenny said.

"Obviously the programme for government is very clear, there has to be reforms. The conditions attached to the troika IMF deal also say there have to be reforms so this is a matter for the Cabinet to decide. Richard Bruton will get to talk to all of those involved and he will come back and we will make decisions at Cabinet level."

Mr Bruton said the Government has charged him with developing proposals in the wage-setting area. "They have charged me also with the consultations which I want and I am entirely committed to do," he said. "I think the Government will take a decision in due course. There is a tight time-frame and we will move to make decisions in this area."

Asked if he supported the Taoiseach and enjoyed Mr Kenny's faith in return, Mr Bruton said: "Of course."

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Communications Minister and Labour TD Pat Rabbitte said all ministers would have their chance to air their views around the Cabinet table. Mr Bruton plans to discuss the findings of an independent review with unions and employers by June 10. An action plan will be brought before Cabinet in the second half of next month.

A number of Labour TDs have urged caution on the plan in the first signs of dissent within the coalition, with Galway East TD Colm Keaveny saying it is essential to debate the issue.

Mr Keaveny said it should not be the intention of the process to reduce the pay of those on the margin of society. "Taking money from people who are drivers of the local economy and of the domestic economy is farcical in my point of view," he said.


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