The Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment will discuss the regulatory and legislative changes required for the transposition of an EU directive on minimum wages.
The Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages seeks to reduce working poverty and inequality by improving the adequacy of statutory minimum wages as well as the promotion of collective bargaining.
Collective bargaining is the process of negotiation between employers and employee representatives such as trade unions.
The directive recognises that strong and inclusive collective bargaining systems play an important role in ensuring adequate minimum wage protection.
Ireland is obliged to present an action plan to the European Commission as part of its transposition of the Directive no later than November 2024.
Representatives from business group Ibec and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) will appear at today’s hearing.
In his opening address to the committee, ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy will tell members that to give effect to the EU directive properly, there will need to be a fundamental change of culture.
“The Irish State has been, at best, a passive, disinterested bystander on collective bargaining and, at worst, has facilitated its denial to many,” Mr Reidy is expected to say.
On 1 January, the national minimum wage increased to €12.70 an hour and more increases are on the way in the coming years.
The Government has agreed to the introduction of a new national living wage to replace the minimum wage by 2026.
It is being phased in with a series of gradual increases and will be set at 60% of the hourly median wage.
In 2023, it is estimated that 60% of median earnings would have equated to around €13.10 per hour.
On Monday, Ibec called for a pause on further increases in the national minimum wage amid soaring costs for employers.
Speaking ahead of the hearing, Committee Cathaoirleach Maurice Quinlivan said they welcomed the opportunity to discuss the regulatory and legislative changes required for the transposition of the adequate Minimum Wages Directive.
“We look forward to hearing the observations of the representatives on the directive,” Mr Quinlivan said.