Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Cost of Living, Minimum Wage Increases and Report of Low Pay Commission: Discussion
Mr. Jonathan Hogan:
I shall respond to Deputy Bruton. Ireland does not have a social wage economy. We do not have a welfare State. Yesterday we heard about a once-off spend that does not even address the housing crisis. Many of the people who are affected by the housing crisis are young workers, which the national minimum wage and the Low Pay Commission did not address to the satisfaction we believe should have been addressed in the recommendations.
The budget provided very little help for the student population. Many Mandate members who work part-time have telephoned the organisation to tell us that they have deferred their college places because they cannot find accommodation and cannot afford accommodation if they find it, yet the Low Pay Commission has recommended that some of these people who are under the age of 20 should get a lower rate because of their age. Deputy Bruton is disingenuous to refer to what happened yesterday because, traditionally, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of public spending per person in the European Union and that must be taken into consideration.
We do not know what the median wage is made of that has been discussed the length and breadth of the recommendation by the Low Pay Commission and perhaps the commission tell us. I understand that the median wage is comprised of a whole host of wage rates but that inflates the average wage, which does not reflect the workers we represent in the retail sector because they are all low paid, paid by the hour and not guaranteed a weekly wage. Many of these workers' pay goes up to certain bands and their hours fluctuate from week to week. These are the people we represent.