[Sinn Fein]

16 December 1997

Sinn Fein backs Minimum Wage Demand

Sinn Fein representative for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has supported calls for the introduction of a 5 per hour minimum wage.

Mr Crowe said:

``If the Celtic Tiger is to be effective in eleminating poverty a first step is clearly the introduction of a minimum wage. I endorse fully the call and commend the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for their 5 per hour minimum wage call. The introduction of this measure would help overnight to eliminate the black economy and encourage the return to work. Rather than effecting smaller business as many will no doubt argue, this measure will in effect assist the local economy giving workers more spending power. It would also start to address the wholesale exploitation of young workers by unscrupulous employers and signal a more equal social and economic environment.

``As someone who has experienced at first hand the scourge of unemployment and living in a community which is more familiar with the Poverty Tiger than a Celtic one, this initiative is timely particularly after the disappointing Fianna Fail /PD budget.In the Ireland of the Celtic Tiger, the economic boom is producing mounting profits, undreamt of growth rates and fortunes for a few. Its time this changed. Its time that politicians, trade unionists, low paid workers and the unemployed began to make their voices heard. Its time to intoduce the minimum wage''

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