Monday, November 22, 2010

Hands Off The Minimum Wage- O'Brien

Hands Off the Minimum Wage

Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan O’Brien has strongly criticised government plans to reduce the minimum wage by up to 13% as part it four-year economic strategy.

Cllr O’Brien said:

“In the same breath as he announced that the government is requesting an IMF and EU bailout so they can channel further billions into the country’s banks, Brian Lenihan flagged up his intention to attack the lowest paid Irish workers by reducing the minimum wage.”

“It appears that while the bankers who caused this crisis are protected even at the cost of putting the country’s sovereignty in pawn to the IMF, low paid workers are to take the hit on their behalf. We can afford to pay the bondholders at Ango-Irish every cent they gambled on the Irish property bubble, but €8.65 an hour is too much to pay the workers who actually produce the country’s wealth. When this is the kind of Alice-in-wonderland thinking that passes for economic policy with the government, is it any wonder the country is in crisis?”

“Cutting the minimum wage is not only unjust – it does not make economic sense. Less money in the pockets of low paid workers means less money to spend in local shops and on local services. It will result in fewer jobs and lower growth,”

“The government argues that our minimum wage is the second-highest in Europe, but conveniently ignores the reality that we have one of the highest costs of living in the EU – largely due to their failure to take on cosy cartels of retailers and service-providers during the Celtic Tiger. In the past year prices of many basic necessities have gone up, not down.”

“The government’s whole strategy for the past two years has been to force workers and the most vulnerable in society to bear the burden while doing everything possible to protect the banks. This approach has failed and will fail again. The minimum wage must be protected. This government must go. We cannot continue to pay the price for their vandalism of the economy.”

For further information or comment contact Cllr Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907

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