Congress says low pay changes in budget must be first step on road to Living Wage and decent work

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said today that Budget 2016 included some positive measures that will see lower paid earners make measurable gains, with the rise in the minimum wage together with adjustments to the PRSI system and changes to the Universal Social Charge (USC).

According to General Secretary Patricia King: “We see the increase in the minimum wage as but a first step towards establishing the Living Wage and decent work across the economy. We also reiterate our call for a a refundable tax credit, in this regard.

“Congress has campaigned over recent years to boost the living standards of very low earners and we acknowledge that the Budget has delivered progress on this.

“However, middle income earners appear to have benefited less and Congress had proposed a Universal Social Charge tax credit that would have ensured greater equity and fairness.

“It is also troubling to see that the high earning self-employed appear to have gained significantly in the budget, which now introduces a greater inequality into the tax system.”

Ms King said that the childcare measures outlined will offer improved provision and are a first step

“But the key issues facing the sector are high cost and low pay, combined with accessibility and capacity.”

Ms King said that the measures announced in relation to housing have the potential to help resolve the crisis, if realised and brought fully to fruition, but she said the issue of rent regulation needs to be addressed urgently.