Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Niall Collins TD has said that he is concerned at the high number of Irish workers who are deemed to be ‘low-wage earners’ according to the definition used by the European Union.

“Based on figures provided by the EU, one in five Irish workers earns less than two thirds of median gross hourly earnings.”

“The Government is presiding over the creation of a low-wage economy. These figures only emphasise the need to grow wages without damaging business competitiveness,” said the Limerick TD.

“In 2014, the Median Gross Hourly Earnings in Ireland was €20.20. Based on these findings, 21.6% of Irish workers are earning less than €13.30 per hour for their work.”

“It’s important to note that these findings do not include apprentices, those working in agriculture, forestry and fishing.”

“If those sectors of the economy had been included, sadly the number earning low wages would have been higher, and the median gross hourly earnings would have been a lot lower.”

“The Government have heralded the decreases in the unemployment rate over the past number of years, but unless workers are getting a decent wage for their work, they will continue to struggle.”

“The priority now for the Government, and in particular, Minister Mitchell O’Connor, must be to increase wages in the economy, without increasing the cost of doing business for employers.”

“This isn’t easy to do, I accept, but it can be done. Decreasing business costs, red tape and the costs associated with employing people, will allow business owners pay better wages without damaging their competitiveness,” argued Collins.