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€9.25 NMW ‘lacks economic basis’

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A group representing independent retailers has criticised plans to increase the National Minimum Wage (NMW) as having “no economic basis”.

Ireland’s Low Pay Commission (LPC) announced at the beginning of August it was recommending an increase of 1.1 percent in the NMW for an experienced adult worker to €9.25.

The LPC said with inflation forecast at 0.4 per cent for 2016, the increase represented a small increase in the real value of the minimum wage.

However, Retail Ireland, which represents members of the retail sector, said any increase will increase pressure on Irish retailers at a time of great uncertainty.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said: “There is absolutely no economic basis for a further minimum wage increase, following the 6 per cent increase earlier this year. Any additional rise will put further pressure on thousands of retail businesses that are already grappling with intense competitive pressures and a rising cost base.

“The UK vote to leave the EU has led to a major sterling devaluation and raised the spectre of a return to cross border shopping.

“To further increase input costs for Irish retailers at this time will reduce our ability to compete with shops north of the boarder.”

The LPC said their recommendation was not supported by three members of the nine-strong commission.

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