SIPTU has stated its support for measures being introduced by the Government to protect precarious workers from exploitation and ensure that the minimum wage is set at a fair level. The Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ged Nash, has circulated the heads of the National Minimum Wage (Low Pay Commission) Bill 2015 and announced that the University of Limerick has been appointed to conduct a review into the impact of zero hour contracts. SIPTU Vice-President, Patricia King, said: “The country has a low pay problem. Eurostat has told us that 21% of workers in Ireland are low paid and we will work with the Low Pay Commission as part of our strategy to deal with the problem. We expect the review into zero-hour contracts commissioned by the Minister will identify the extent to which they are used and how they form part of a bad employer practice that should be ended.” SIPTU Services Division Organiser John King, said: “We are broadly supportive of these two measures that should assist in ensuring that workers fully benefit from the economic recovery that is currently underway. “Workers in the Irish economy who are on the national minimum wage or affected by zero hour contracts tend to be employed in workplaces which do not benefit from collective bargaining agreements. Currently, these workers also do not have the benefits of the Joint Labour Committee system to ensure fair pay rates and conditions. A properly functioning Low Paid Commission can go someway in rebalancing the unequal relationship between employers and workers in these sectors.” He added: “It is very positive that the review of the prevalence and impact of zero contracts is to be conducted by respected academics in the University to Limerick. This institution has a record of producing objective and substantive studies into the dynamics of low paid sectors of the economy. “It is now vital that the Government proceeds with introducing formal legislation to the Dáil at the earliest opportunity in relation to the Low Paid Commission and the zero hour contracts.”