IEA says no to proposed wage increase
The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) has come out against a proposed 13 percent increase in the country’s minimum wage, saying in a statement that the increase will “damage our fragile export competitiveness,” particularly to the UK.
Organization officials argue that this wage bump is just the latest roadblock to increasing exports. The group is also worried about rising fuel costs and the declining value of the pound sterling.
“The minimum wage in Ireland is currently 9.5 percent higher than in the UK and one of the highest in Europe. The proposed increase of 13 percent in the minimum wage by Minister Bruton is unnecessary and in the current tough competitive export climate very unwise,” the IEA’s John Whelan said in a statement.
He added that the country’s main export markets are still reeling from the economic downturn and haven’t fully recovered. Unemployment, he said, is still common, and consumers are tightly gripping their purse strings.
“Irish exporters have had to cut their costs to compete and need assistance to keep costs down, not upward expectations of return to wage rises by government action,” Whelan said. “If the Minister feels obliged to proceed with the minimum wage increase because of pre–election promises, then he should ensure that the cost to business is not increased by introducing a zero employers PRSI for businesses who will be affected.’’