Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle calls for immediate hike in minimum wage and a move to the living wage

Pringle calls for immediate hike in minimum wage and a move to the living wage

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said the minimum wage should be increased immediately, saying minimum-wage workers are among those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Addressing the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle said: “We need to ensure that the minimum wage in this country represents a living income and the minimum wage should, at the very least, be brought in line with the living wage. We need to ensure adequate income for our citizens and enable people to afford an acceptable standard of living.”

He said: “With the continuous rise in prices, it is actually becoming increasingly difficult to get by on a living wage, never mind a minimum wage, which is much, much lower.”

The deputy said: “If workers’ wages are not increased to reflect the cost of living, they are effectively taking a pay cut, and I would hope that employers would reflect on this fact.” He has long called for a review of the national minimum hourly rate for employees.

He noted that the busy summer season is starting in his Killybegs hometown, drawing tourists from around the country and the world. He said: “It is a season that would not be possible without the many tourism and hospitality workers, most of whom are on minimum-wage incomes.”

He said a rise in the minimum wage would have a huge effect on towns along the Wild Atlantic Way, where minimum-wage workers are relied on so heavily: “Ensuring that those employed in rural Ireland are paid well is an important way to ensure that people stay in rural areas, which would then contribute to rejuvenating our town centres as well.”

Deputy Pringle said: “We often forget that the many enjoyments we get from the tourism and hospitality sector would not be possible without the many workers who hold this industry up. They do incredible work and contribute hugely to our tourism industry. And they deserve to be recognised and compensated for this.”

He said: “It’s actually the workers who make a business work.”

The deputy was speaking in support of a Labour bill on the living wage. He said he believed it was a necessary first step but didn’t go far enough.

Deputy Pringle said: “In this bill, Labour proposes to increase the minimum wage from €10.50 to €12.90 over three years. I believe that due to the cost-of-living crisis we are currently facing, urgency is required.

“The minimum wage should be increased to €12.90 immediately and we should then look at raising it to €15 over the next three years. I believe this more adequately reflects the high cost of living in Ireland today.” He said it would also benefit employers by putting more money in the pockets of their customers who are minimum-wage employees.

The deputy also called on the Houses of the Oireachtas to reflect on the debate, “as our secretarial assistants continue to fight for their pay claim. Oireachtas staff are essential to the democratic process in this country and it is shameful that they are forced to continuously ask for a decent wage.”

Deputy Pringle concluded: “People in this country shouldn’t be struggling to get by.”

 “It is time we started treating the people in this country with the dignity and respect that they deserve, and we can start by ensuring that everyone is paid a decent wage that would allow them the opportunity to live a decent life,” he said.