Labour’s new leader Ivana Bacik has called for the Government to boost the minimum wage in order to tackle the cost of living crisis.
“One of the best ways to tackle the cost of living crisis is to ensure that people’s incomes will rise,” Deputy Bacik told On The Record with Gavan Reilly.
“And I’ve put forward a number of ways to do that; first to increase the minimum wage in line with inflation but secondly to strengthen trade union collective bargaining rights to ensure that people can see their unions negotiate on a collective basis to increase wages and improve pay and conditions.
“And that’s always the best way, the most effective way to ensure real and sustainable increases in pay to meet the cost of living.”
On the question of whether such a decision would further fuel inflation, Deputy Bacik said it was a question of getting the balance right.
“I saw the ESRI warning on that and I think clearly we have to be cognisant of that but they also did say that there had to be a balance and that targeted measures are necessary,” Deputy Bacik continued.
A recent Red C Poll put support for Labour at 5% - far below the levels of support the party used to command historically. However, Deputy Bacik predicted that Irish politics was entering a new era and that her party would be the beneficiary of it:
“I think we’re entering a different phase of politics,” she described.
“We’ve come through COVID - two very tough years - we’re now facing the absolute horror of the war in Ukraine and the brutal Russian invasion there.
“And I think that so much about what’s happened politically now, is I suppose making us all see things somewhat differently.
“I think there’s a much greater appreciation now of the role that the state can and should play in delivering on services like childcare, like healthcare and on the need to really take up the very urgent and existential challenge of the climate crisis.
“So I think we have moved into a new phase of politics and I think it’s a stage in which a Labour voice is needed more than ever before - that strong, centre-left and progressive voice.”
Main image: Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik speaking in the Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre in Dublin. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie