Members of the Low Pay Commission are to visit Northern Ireland to see what the impact has been on the region’s economy.
The commission contends that the introduction of the minimum wage has not affected the Northern Ireland economy, but will visit Derry and Coleraine to see if local business agrees.
Low Pay Commissioner, Willy Brown, said: “By talking first hand to the people affected we gain a valuable insight which helps inform the work that we do.”
Business leaders have criticised plans to raise the minimum wage after the government accepted the commission’s recommendation that there should be further increases to £5.05 from 1 October 2005.
Plans to then raise this to £5.35 in October 2006 were met with claims that it would mean less staff hours, cutting jobs and reducing employee benefits.
Minimum wage: the statistics
- The national minimum wage for those over 21 is £4.85 per hour
- For those aged 18 to 21 – or over 21 but in the first six months of a new job with a new employer and receiving accredited training – the rate is £4.10 per hour
- The minimum wage for 16- and 17-year-olds of £3.00 an hour will remain the same in 2005.