The Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP) has criticised proposals to introduce a regional minimum wage to better reflect the cost of living in different areas, arguing that basic pay in Northern Ireland will be far below the rest of the UK.
Describing the plans as "immoral", the party's youth spokesperson said that while London workers will see the minimum wage raised to £6.80 per hour, people in Northern Ireland will see it cut to £4.80.
"To cut our already tiny minimum wage levels would effectively result in bonded labour masquerading as fair employment," he stated.
The government would not consider basing the minimum wage on race, religion or gender, so should therefore not create a new system based on where people live, he added.
Earlier in the week, a Labour party source told the Telegraph that the introduction of a regional minimum wage was a "logical next step", but was likely to be opposed by a number of sectors.