Mick Barry TD: Wages in Ireland are not rising as quickly as other recovering countries

Mick Barry TD: Wages in Ireland are not rising as quickly as other recovering countries

Mick Barry TD: "The upturn in the economies of Portugal and Hungary do not compare to the upturn in the Irish economy yet workers in these countries are recording wage rises nearly three times the average wage increase here. Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

IRISH wage growth is out of sync with the speed of the country's economic growth, according to Solidarity TD Mick Barry. 

A new Eurostat report showed that Irish wages grew by an average of 3.6% last year, just about the 3% average for the European Union. 

Average Irish weekly earnings now stand at €761.65 per week or slightly less than €40,000 per annum.

However, Mr Barry pointed out that Ireland has the fastest growing economy in Europe, but wage growth was in the middle, well behind countries like Portugal, Hungary, and Latvia (10%) and Poland (6%).

"The upturn in the economies of Portugal and Hungary do not compare to the upturn in the Irish economy yet workers in these countries are recording wage rises nearly three times the average wage increase here. 

"If Ireland has the fastest growing economy in Europe Irish wage rates should be increasing faster than they actually are," he said. 

He said that wage comparisons between Ireland and other EU countries is "distorted" as benefits are not taken into account.

These include better unemployment benefits, maternity benefits, pensions, and health contributions, pay for by employers through social insurance. 

He said that the wages of Irish workers in the retail sector would need to increase by 18% to keep up with the social insurance advantages enjoyed by other European retail workers and hospitality workers would need to see their's increase by 28%.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party has begun a campaign for a shorter working week. 

Senator Ged Nash, who was behind the Low Pay Commission during the 2011-2016 Fine Gael-Labour coalition which led to an increase in the minimum wage, said that the working world is changing and practices need to change with it. 

"In order to make work more productive and to ensure family life and society benefits from advances in technology, I think it is timely that we examine how our working time laws at Irish and EU level can better serve workers and industry by providing workers with a better work-life balance.

"With workers constantly being expected to be ‘on’, there is evidence to suggest that quality of work and productivity can suffer as a result.

"Employees and employers don’t benefit from this kind of practice.

"As we move closer and closer to full employment, we have to look at the pressures on workers, especially younger workers and examine how our current laws can be changed to benefit workers, society and industry," he said. 

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