Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has claimed that the cut in the minimum wage outlined in the Government's austerity plan will help create jobs by encouraging employers to take on more staff.
Mr Lenihan was reacting to criticism from trade union leaders who said there is no economic, social or moral justification to cut the wages of the lowest paid.
Speaking in Dublin this afternoon, Mr Lenihan said he did not know how many new jobs the minimum wage cut would create.
"Yon can't put an exact figure on it," he said.
"It will encourage activation into the workplace and that's the key issue here…it's important that our minimum wage structures have a simplicity in them and that they incentivise work and to encourage employers to employ more workers."