The Low Pay Commission Report published yesterday, 19th July, recommends an increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) of 10 cent from €9.15 to €9.25 from January 1st 2017. The Commission, reporting to Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, published a detailed paper on their recommendation however, it is not a foregone conclusion that this rate will be adopted, though it will be considered over the next couple of months in the lead up to the Budget in October.
Hardware Association Ireland is very concerned that this increase could come hot on the heels of the NMW increase on 1st January this year and advise caution to Government that another increase in labour costs will severely damage member hardware stores and builders merchants and could be the difference between survival and closure especially in rural areas.
Annemarie Harte, CEO of HAI commented “Our 2015 Business Index of net retail sales indicates that businesses who identify themselves as operating in a rural environment are 5% down on trade compared to 2014. Furthermore, the Index shows that the most vulnerable businesses are those found in rural main streets and merchants operating from single branch locations with less than 10 employees; these merchants reported a 6% decline in trade from the previous year.” She continues “Hitting them with another increase so soon after the last one is unacceptable, we are still operating in a two-tier economy and our rural business cannot withstand another enforced increase”.