Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has called for the introduction of a Living Wage of €12.30 an hour.
The Laois-Offaly TD was speaking in the Dáil last evening in favour of a Sinn Féin motion which called on all parties to support an increase in the minimum wage:
He said: “If we are serious about dealing with inequality and poverty, then we must deal with workers’ rights.
“That means ensuring that a worker has the right to a wage which provides them with an acceptable and basic standard of living.
“This is why Sinn Féin are calling for the introduction of a Living Wage of €12.30 per hour.
“You have a situation now where 1 in 5 workers in private rented accommodation are spending half their wages on rent.
“You have sky high insurance costs for workers in rural Ireland who have no choice but to drive to work each day.
“In Laois and Offaly, the average worker in the so-called ‘hospitality sector’ takes home under 400 euro a week and in some cases less than 300 euro per week.
“How is someone expected to survive on that, let alone have a decent standard of living?”
He continued “We know workers in the Beef Factories are at the pin of their collars while Larry Goodman made a profit of €170 million last year.
“ABP can certainly afford to pay a living wage and so can many other employers out there.
“We also recognise that some smaller businesses will genuinely not be able to afford such an increase straight away and there is a clause within the legislation to exempt such employers.”
Deputy Stanley concluded: “At the end of the day, we know that hotels and food processors and many other big businesses are taking advantage of their workers with low wages and we will not stand for it any longer. We need to close the gap and give workers a proper week’s wage.”