The news that the government is going to cut the minimum wage by €1 an hour provoked anger this week from Sinn Féin Castlebar town councillor Thérèse Ruane and Labour Party general election candidate Gerry Cowley.
“Plans in the Government’s Four Year Plan to cut the minimum wage by 12 per cent is proof positive that the least well off and most vulnerable are fair game as far as Fianna Fáil are concerned,” Mr Cowley said this week. “Cutting the minimum wage makes absolutely no sense at any level. The hardship such a cut will cause will be very significant for the tens of thousands of households who rely on minimum-wage employment and will act as a disincentive to work.”
Cllr Ruane said that the Government should look at cutting the maximum wage paid out to Government employees. “Given that the Government has defended cutting the minimum wage by €1 and hour on the basis of the ‘national interest’, perhaps they would extend that logic to those on the other end of the scale,” she said. “The Taoiseach himself, on the basis of a 40 hour week, is on an hourly rate of €125. A Supreme Court judge earns a similar amount. Others within the higher levels of the public service are on an hourly rate of around €100, not to mention the fact that some of those directly responsible for the financial catastrophe within the banking sector are still earning exorbitant sums. Surely if the Government and others who are celebrating taking €40 a week out of the pockets of the lowest paid in our society are genuine about the ‘national interest’ they will follow suit and take a pay cut themselves.”