Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly said the proposal from the British government’s Low Pay Commission that the minimum wage be increased by 3% falls far short of what is required to lift people out of poverty.
Councillor Kelly said:
“The Low Pay Commission proposed increases to the minimum wage for people over 21 by 3% to £6.70, for 18-20 years by 3.3% to £5.30 and by 2.2% to £3.87 for workers aged 16 & 17. These are totally inadequate to lift people out of poverty and provide increased disposable income to boost the economy.
“There are now more people in work and living in poverty than those out of work. This proposed 3% increase for someone paid the minimum wage represents a derisory 20p per hour increase. While 3% might well be a decent increase for someone earning large salaries, it is a pittance for people earning well short of what is required to lift them out of poverty.
“It is clear the interests of working-class people here are not being served by a Tory government in Westminster.
“Sinn Féin want to see the introduction of a range of progressive measures to deal with the issues of zero hour contracts, subsistence wages and worker exploitation.
“We believe that all workers should be paid a living wage.
“The findings that some employers continue to pay workers below the minimum wage further reinforces the need for comprehensive legislation to both protect and improve workers’ rights.
“The proposals by the Low Pay Commission will not only fail to achieve this but it also proposes the perpetuation of inequality between workers under 21 and those over this age. All workers, regardless of age or gender are entitled to equal pay for equal work.”