Ireland - National minimum wage cut by 11.6% - January 20, 2011

On 19 January Minister for Enterprise Batt O’Keeffe signed a ministerial order authorising the reduction in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) by one Euro to €7.65 per hour as from 1 February, implying a cut of 11.6%. The memorandum of understanding on the €85 billion bailout package stated the cut in the minimum wage would take place by May. A government spokesman said it was the government that decides when to sign the order to give effect to the minimum wage cut and it had decided it was important to address competitive cost issues as quickly as possible. Jack O’Connor, president of Siptu, the country’s largest union, commented bitterly: “This has been slickly presented as a response to the EU-IMF negotiation when in fact it was already the objective of the Minister for Finance.” The new NMW would mainly apply for new entrants; the government says existing employees should be protected from wage cuts if already working under a contract that sets wages at or above the NMW. Yet, workers on the minimum wage may be working on contracts stipulating they are paid at the prevailing national minimum wage hourly rate (See also this Collective Bargaining Newsletter Year 3 November 2010).



This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2011.

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