LAST YEAR Solidarity Trade Union launched a campaign that offered help, information and advice about the National Minimum Wage. It seems that our Are You Getting Enough? leaflet has gone down a storm with those workers in poorly paid jobs. It’s also gained us valuable publicity in some areas – look out for our special report on this, which’ll be appearing here soon.
In the meantime, we need to continue with our effort to raise awareness of the National Minimum Wage. Although it was brought in over ten years ago, it’s clear that many, many workers are still not receiving it. This is particularly so in the care, service and security industries.
As well as raising awareness of the National Minimum Wage, we also need to endure that the Con-Dem government doesn’t try to do away with it – using the recession as an excuse.
This has already been done in Eire, where the national minimum wage has been cut by €1 per hour.
It’s thought that this was one of the ‘conditions’ laid down by the IMF and the European Central Bank when it agreed an estimated €85 billion to bail the banks out.
Trade unionists believe that cutting the minimum wage to €7.65 will wipe an additional €40 a week off the household budgets of tens of thousands of already struggling working families across the country.
The latest data from the Central Statistics Office shows that about 47,000 workers, or 3.1 percent of the employed labour force, are paid at or below the current adult experienced-worker rate of €8.65. However, some unions – including the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) – estimate that there are about 350,000 low-paid workers in Eire.