Younger workers highlighted in today's living wage debate

Younger workers highlighted in today's living wage debate

The Dáil will today debate a plan that would increase the minimum wage by around 25%.

It's currently €10.50 an hour, compared to the 'living wage' of €12.90.

Under Labour's bill, the minimum wage would match the living wage within three years.

Party leader Ivana Bacik says immediate action's also needed to ease the burden on the low-paid.


"We have also called for an immediate €1 per hour rise on the current minimum wage, to bring it up from €10.50 per hour to 11.50 per hour because we are conscious of inflation being at a 22 year high, at 7%, the spike in the cost of living is really hitting individuals and households hard."

The Aontu leader says it's "absolutely morally wrong" for workers not to get a wage that covers their basic needs.

Meath West TD Peadar Toibin says huge numbers are struggling to live day to day.

"The figure is incredible.


"133,000 people are trapped in poverty whilst working.

"I think it's absolutely morally wrong to ask anybody to work 40 hours per week and then give them a wage which does not allow them to pay for the key needs of their lives."

However, many TDs expressed concern that an increase in wages would put extra pressure on small businesses.

Limerick Independent TD Richard O'Donoghue says this would be a blow that many companies wouldn't survive.


"SME's at the moment find it hard enough to keep going with escalating prices.

"What do you do? You put businesses, that are already struggling with the highest insurance and running costs in Europe, you want to put them out of business."

The average wage for a younger worker tends to be on a lower scale than those for who are older in the same role.

Tipperary Labour TD Alan Kelly called out the difference in pay and says younger people should be treated the same.

"I think collectively, it's immoral how we treat the wages of young people.

"To be paying 70%, 80%, 90% of the minimum wage to people who are working in various different service industries, particularly the hospitality industry.

"I think is wrong, I think there is exploitation going on out there and I think some people are being treated very, very badly.

"Whether it needs to be looked as regards minimum amount of hours they can work versus the rate of pay.

"But certainly, two people side by side, a couple of years difference, the idea that this is pocket money is no longer the case.

"There shouldn't be such a differential between how one person is paid because they are 17 or 18 versus someone who is 21 or 22."