Belfast Telegraph

Public call to raise minimum wage

More than three quarters of people think the minimum wage should be increased to 11.50 euro an hour - the recognised salary needed for someone to live above the breadline.

On the eve of a report on the issue by Government advisers, a survey revealed 77% of people would like to give a pay rise to workers on the lowest wages.

The minimum wage is 8.65 euro at present.

According to the poll of 1,000 adults aged 16 or older for the think-tank Tasc, 86% of those surveyed said the Government should do more to stop employers using zero hours contracts.

The report also revealed 69% of people supported a policy of investing in public services rather than spending money on cutting income taxes.

Cormac Staunton, Tasc policy analyst, said the figures show where public sentiment is on important fiscal and economic issues as politicians, commentators and policy makers attend the Government's National Economic Dialogue this week in Dublin Castle.

"Ireland clearly has a system that is already under strain. We have a health service that needs serious investment and a significant housing crisis. There is a lack of affordable childcare, and our primary and secondary education systems impose considerable costs on parents and families," he said.

The Low Pay Commission, which is to advise the Government on the appropriate rate for the national minimum wage, will also make its first report to junior minister Ged Nash tomorrow.

Tasc said Ireland has more than one in five workers officially classified as low paid, and the level of people on low wages is increasing quicker than in other developed countries.

Mr Staunton added: "Minimum Wages can play an important role in reducing inequality and reducing the level of low pay, which is why the work of the Low Pay Commission is so important. In order to be effective, the Minimum Wage must be close to a Living Wage - which is now calculated to be 11.50 euro per hour."

The Behaviour and Attitudes survey for Tasc in June also found 85% agree that the Government should do more to reduce economic inequality and the amount of people who support a minimum wage increase is up 2% from last year and more than 20% since 2010.

The Government is expected to reduce income tax in the budget this autumn.


From Belfast Telegraph