January 11, 2023
Equality and common sense dictate sub-minimum rates of pay must be abolished – Louise O’Reilly TD and Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Senator Paul Gavan, have reiterated their calls for sub-minimum rates of pay to be abolished.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Sub-minimum rates of pay are used to exploit young workers and have no place in the Ireland of 2023.

“These rates of pay are open to abuse by some employers as a mechanism through which a young worker is paid as little as 70%, 80%, or 90% of the National Minimum Wage. 

“These rates are exploitative of young workers and the state should recognise the principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work. 

“Workers, whatever their age, pay the same tax, PRSI, and USC, there is no reason why such discrimination should persist.

“As the Mandate Trade Union has stated, this is an outdated and old-fashioned concept based on the belief that young workers live at home and do not face the same issues as older workers.

“In 2023 this could not be further from the truth as young workers grapple with the inflation crisis, the cost of transport, the cost of education, the cost of rent, and the general impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

Senator Paul Gavan stated:

“In 2018 and 2021 I introduced legislation to abolish exploitative practice of sub-minimum rates of pay.

“This issue continues to affect young people five years after I first introduced such legislation and the government continues to do nothing, other than sanction reports into the discriminatory practice, as sub-minimum rates of pay remain in place. 

“We have workers over the age of 18 only being paid 80% or 90% of the National Minimum Wage simply because of their age. These workers are doing the same work – they should get the same pay. 

“This is just another way for businesses to take advantage of cheap labour and due to their nature, these rates of pay can exclusively target younger workers.

“They have been abolished in Germany, Spain, Korea, Canada and in Belgium, and it is about time we did the same in this state.

“These rates of pay have been negotiated and totally removed from all collective agreements in Ireland’s retail sector. 

“The concept of sub-minimum rates of pay is outdated and punitive.” 

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