The Irish government has announced a plan to introduce legislation that would give the maximum minimum wage for workers to rise to €20 per hour.
Under the proposal, workers would be paid at least €10.20 per week for their time in the public sector and the equivalent of about €20 in wage tax.
Understandably, there has been considerable resistance to the measure among the public and labour unions, which have argued that the proposal would not be sustainable.
However, the government has agreed to back down and have now announced a compromise proposal that will allow the minimum wage to be raised to €10 per hour, as long as it does not come with an increase in the cost of living or social welfare payments.
The deal has been agreed between the government and the Irish Labour Party, which has already announced that it will vote in favour of the plan.
It is the first time in recent history that a government has decided to backtrack on its earlier commitment to introduce a minimum wage hike in a way that does not increase the cost to taxpayers.
The proposed legislation would include measures to ensure that there is a minimum level of social protection, including providing more job protection for workers in the private sector and increasing the retirement age.
However the minimum wages will not be indexed to inflation and the government will be able to provide for increases in wages through the cost-of-living allowance, the most important wage increase in Ireland.
In the first months of the next parliament, the minimum rates will be increased from €9 to €11 an hour, while the minimum pay rate will rise to about €15.40 an hour.
The proposal is also expected to increase public services, including the salaries of public sector workers and the public pension.
This will be particularly important for people in the lower middle class who are currently paid less than those in the upper middle class.
The government said that it would provide the money for the minimum increase through the Public Expenditure and Reform Programme, which will increase the maximum wage by about 10 cents per hour in 2017.
This is in line with a proposal by the government last year to increase the minimum minimum wage by 10 cents in 2019, and then by a further 20 cents a year until 2022.
However it is not clear what the impact of this increase would be on the cost for the government of the Public Sector Pay (PSP), which pays public sector employees a minimum salary of €25,000 per year.
The PSP has been criticised by the Catholic Church and other Catholic groups for not adequately covering the costs of benefits for public servants.
This proposal would also be a major step forward in addressing the issue of workers’ rights in the current climate of austerity.
It would be a big victory for the Irish Government and the Labour Party as well as the thousands of workers who have been affected by the austerity measures in recent years.