Junior labour minister Billy Kelleher thinks the minimum wage needs a review.

Apparently, €8.65 an hour could be a ‘barrier to employment’.

Billy’s boss, enterprise and employment minister Mary Coughlan, sets the minimum wage in orders and regulations laid before the Oireachtas.

Maybe the government hopes the latest kite will distract from the fact that leading bankers, even after taking 25% salary cuts in return for a taxpayer’s digout, will still earn six figure salaries.

Is this what the taoiseach had in mind when he told a press conference that ‘people understand that we all have to make an adjustment, that we all have to make a contribution commensurate with our ability to pay‘?

Meanwhile, the National Employment Rights Agency today published its 2008 annual report, and warned that the problem of staff not being paid the minimum wage extends beyond foreign nationals.

Last year the agency recovered more than €3m in wages due to workers who had been underpaid by employers.

Catering, security, contract cleaning and hospitality were highlighted as sectors with potential for abuse.

There are still twenty junior ministers. TDs and senators still get unvouched expenses. Curious banking practices come to light every day. Share the pain.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.