Belfast Telegraph

Unions slam 'misleading' wage ad

A Government advertisement about changes to the minimum wage is misleading and will spark massive confusion, it has been warned.

Congress, an umbrella organisation representing 55 trade unions, said it has called on caretaker Enterprise Minister Mary Hanafin to withdraw the official advert.

Run in several newspapers over the weekend, the notice sets out details about the minimum wage cut - from 8.65 euro to 7.65 euro an hour - to be enforced on February 1.

The advert advises employers to take into account contractual obligations in regard to workers who were on the old rate.

It states any changes would have to be agreed between both under "best practice".

But David Begg, general secretary of Congress, said those earning 8.65 euro cannot have their pay cut without their consent and agreement.

He said: "There is a profound difference between best practice and legal necessity.

"It is a matter of both statute and contract law that there must be agreement between employees and employers before wages can be reduced."

Mr Begg said the advert will create "massive confusion" and called on Ms Hanafin to order its withdrawal.

He said: "The Government - or what's left of it - also has to explain why it has rushed in this cut a full four months before the date mentioned in the IMF/ECB bailout deal."

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