Union hits out at 'poverty pay' for workers

One in five Irish workers are not earning a "living wage", it was claimed today.

Trade Union UNITE said that 300,000 workers earn less than €11.45 per hour.

The living wage rate has been defined by a trade union think tank as the minimum needed for basic standard of living.

“The Living Wage of €11.45 per hour, launched last Thursday, is an evidence-based figure derived from research into the expenditure required to have a minimum essential standard of living," said Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly.

"Using CSO data, Unite has estimated that around 300,000 workers – or nearly one in five – earn below this hourly wage. And this figure does not include those workers who may earn more than €11.45 per hour, but are unable to work sufficient hours to earn the weekly Living Wage of €446.

"Nor does it take account of the expenditure needs of households of children, who would require a higher wage.

“The figures released by Unite today tally with the CSO finding that over 300,000 of those in work suffer multiple deprivation experiences.

“Ireland is in the throes of a low pay epidemic.

“Poverty pay undermines the living standards of the workers and families concerned – and it undermines the economy, dampening consumer demand and delaying the prospect of a sustainable wage-led recovery.

“That is why it is vital that the Living Wage become accepted as a new wage floor.”

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