The minimum wage should rise by €4 per hour, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said.
On January 1st, the minimum wage rose by 80 cents from €10.50 to €11.30.
However, for those aged under 18, the rate is €7.91 and ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy said young people are especially vulnerable to the cost of living crisis.
“The State has failed young workers,” he said.
“Those young workers have been shut out of the housing market, the rental market and they really need to be given a break.
“And we know that many employers will say, ‘This will damage the economy and it will lead to job losses’ - but we’ve heard those calls before.”
The ICTU believes the minimum wage should rise by €2 in January and by a further €2 in 2025.
“It’s quite clear that low paid workers - 54% of people on the national minimum wage - are under 24, so those workers have taken the brunt of the cost of living crisis,” Mr Reidy said.
“Many of the tax changes the Government has introduced in recent years and plan to introduce this year, don’t affect those workers.
“Clearly they’ve suffered from the cost of living crisis.”
The minimum wage is due to be phased out in 2026 and replaced with a new national living wage - which will be set at 60% of the median hourly median wages.
The Government has cited research from Maynooth University that found a living wage would not adversely affect employment or hours worked.
Main image: Employers with cash.