Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Protect the minimum wage. Let multinationals pay their way in Ireland's crisis

8.65 is not an awful lot of money.  It is, however, the hourly rate of pay for those working on Ireland’s minimum wage.

Anyone who gets up out of bed to go to work should be rewarded for it, and cutting the minimum wage is not the way to reward hard-working people, some of whom are active in the more exploitative sectors of our economy.

Of course, the Small Firms Association and some other interest groups have been calling for a reduction in the minimum wage for years; whinging that the proprietors of coffee shops, restaurants and the like can’t afford the wagebills and are consequently going out of business.

First rule of capitalism: establish a viable business.  If paying an hourly rate of  €8.65 is too much to ask of an employer, you have to wonder if they should be in business anyway? 

If Ireland’s much discussed bailout does not come with conditions that challenge well-off, highly-regulated professions and break up their cartels, it will be a missed opportunity. Likewise, it will be a missed opportunity if the corporate tax rate is not increased, in defiance of  dire warnings from some of the US conglomerates based here.

Even if corporation tax was increased by 2.5%, bringing it up to 15%, it would still be low by EU standards – the same as Latvia’s and higher only than Bulgaria and Cyprus.

Given that the Government and the IDA are forever banging on about inward investment coming to Ireland due to "our young, educated workforce" (never mind the fact we are mother tongue English speakers) maybe they should have the courage of their convictions and stand up to the bullying of Google and Intel?  Let them pay their way. 

They can better afford it than those on the minimum wage.

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Anonymous said...

A bit of Hypocrisy here GM.

You don't seem to have a problem with employers north of the border who pay less than our minimum wage.

Or perhaps you don't see them as viable businesses and that you won't be shopping there this Christmas?

I mean, where did you think all that 'good value' came from?

Anonymous said...

FYI Goggle do a nice graphic on this


Hover over the names of each country to the the monthly figure.

Anonymous said...

one solution revolution people of ireland we have no change if our future are at their hand we are all irish hello from greece no fear

Anonymous said...

The very attractive girl standing to the right of Brian Cowan at his press conference should be The Taoiseach, because she seemed to have nice legs. Who is she? Is that his wife?
Didn’t Brian look elegant and masterful. He reminded me of JFK with his commanding and persuasive voice the crowd were is awe of him

The Gombeen Man said...

First Anon: I wouldn't buy into the SFA fallacy of the minimum wage being the cause of all our ills. High insurance costs, utilities, upward-only rents and so on are fairer targets. Also, only roughly 4% are on the minimum wage in Ireland - the most vulnerable workers in the country.

The biggest cause of last year's shoppers exodus was the exchange rate.

@ Greek Anon. Thank for your solidarity.

@ David. You're an awful wag altogether.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your argument that €8.65 is not an awful lot of money. Lets rise up against employers who don't pay €8.65. That means no more shopping in Newry. Are you with us?

First Anon

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon
You are probably a most congenial person, but to suggest not shopping in Newry one month before Christmas, is commercial sacrilege.

People travel from Tralee to Newry in convoys to shop. My friend Billy owned a corner shop 5 years ago. Now it has turned into a super-super market thanks to the people of the IR. By shopping in NI they are (figuratively speaking) defrauding the Irish revenue.

Even when there was a border with customs posts, the people still smuggled everything that made a profit. As a boy, for mischief, we smuggled French Letters and Harrison Marks pinup magazines, colloquially known as dirty books. It was wonderful! Three cheers for Newry.

Second Anon (get it, second to none) Clever?

anna said...

I stopped trying to re-emigrate to Newry , due to part time low wage economy; but remember this - a lot in North live with PT low wage economy , BUT have an excellent free health service, great free education, roads, good access to council housing etc. So it is true I earn twice as much down here- but if i had children or elderly relatives to support, i would still be far better off in the north. AND NI has great social progression, Far better than here, many children from council estates have done very well for themselves: here the poor are Endlessly hammered by government...and yet somehow the rich are untouchable????
ANyway, some Xmas pressie ideas: Fintan O 'Tooles new book ' Enough is Enough' calls for huge overhaul of political system.
John Waters has new book 'Fuckers*' ( *is it called that or is it just my overheated imagination?) Anyway the JW book lists the 50 biggest bastards both financial and ideological ( Gerry & Ian are also in it) who have turned Ireland into the rotten country it is, I have ordered both from library, due to cuts in my wages, I don't buy many books...and I am not on the minimum wage: no WWUGI?? A nation bankrupt by greedy white collar criminal bastards, so what will we do- cut minimum wage...if this was France, the Dail would be smouldering by now.....

The Gombeen Man said...

I wonder would the people who are calling for a cut in the minimum wage in the expensive Irish Republic work for it themselves?

To compare the minimum wage of one jurisdiction with another is highly disingenuous, as living costs are different.

Maybe when we see an end to profiteering, upward-only rent reviews, a higher rate of VAT, high insurance and utility costs et al, people (including many on the minimum wage, I imagine) will stop going north.

But there will always be the exchange rate as long as we have different currencies.

Anonymous said...

Downright Criminal Stupidity.

I hope that Mr Gombeen Man does not object to me mentioning these books mentioned by Anna who presented a great post that has make me think and act.

I have just ordered all three of these. As always, prior to buying, I read the reviews, which literally brought tears to my eyes. Ordinarily I do not drink very much but on this occasion I poured myself a double, double Jameson because it is the “Stupidity Part” that hurts so much. This need not have happened.

As a boy I remember writing an essay about the antecedents leading up to the French Revolution. One of these was: The people were not being told the truth, if they had been, the revolution could have been avoided.


I have just watched the BBC Newsnight video with Brian Lenihan and Jeremy Paxman, and clearly Mr Lenihan told ‘Blair Faced Lies’ to the viewers. Mr Lenihan is not a devious man, but how does he feel (especially that he has been ill) being forced to issue information that amounts to nonsense. I should imagine that his family will be so happy when he loses the election.

I hope Mr Gombeen Man does not object me mentioning these to these book references

Who Really Runs Ireland?: The story of the elite who led Ireland from bust to boom ... and back again - Matt Cooper Publisher: Penguin Ireland (6 May 2010) Language English
ISBN-13: 978-1844881673

Enough is Enough: How to Build a New Republic - Fintan O'Toole Publisher: Faber and Faber (28 Oct 2010) ISBN-13: 978-0571270088

Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger - Fintan O'Toole
ISBN-13: 978-0571260751 Faber and Faber (1 July 2010)

I cannot find the book mentioned by Anna: ‘John Waters has new book 'Fuckers’, Can anyone help?

David McGinnity (DBMG)

The Gombeen Man said...

Thank you for the diligent research, Mr McG.

I can't imagine Mr Waters (not the Irish one anyway) using the "F" word so prominently in a work bearing his name.

I do believe Anna might - for once - be mistaken on this one...

anna said...

NO!!!!Honestly- I was in Connolly railway station, middle of last week, at book stand _ (there is only 1 newsagent), AND picked the Actual book up!!I was highly approving of the content- almost bought it on the spot, but just have paid 300 for dental work, so phoned ILAC library to have it added to my FOT order. Librarian said both books are just out, by Irish publishers, therfore she said it is taking a bit longer than expected for the ILAC to get hold of them both.... I said book shops must have massive orders in for them...I am nearly SURE it is 'Fuckers' or was it Fockers or Gombeens or Scumbags or Assholes...whatever ...you get the picture...look it's hardly going to be called 'Eminent Irishmen' or 'Noble Gaels' is it...ANyway the ILAC says I'm 2nd on the list for it, so I promise I'll read fast, whenever they do get a hold of it, so we can all hve a free and educational read...

anna said...

'FECKERS' IT IS -Pub 30/9/10 by Constable,
Authour, John Waters:
A suitable stocking filler for all the family; from your school kids in their pre fabs to gran on her hospital trolley...

,An hilarous and savage attack on the fifty people who fecked up the Emerald Isle. Which 50 People turned Ireland into the fecked-up country she is today? Bono? Haughey? Louis Walsh? de Valera? It’s time to name and shame the great, the good and the gobshites...

Conventional wisdom has it that Ireland, after a violent and tragic history, had began to get things right. But when the ill wind of recession cruelly snatched that self-satisfied achievement away, it all seemed like exceedingly back luck.

In his 50 brilliantly acerbic portraits Waters reveals a consistent pattern of self-delusion, myopia, inferiority complex, bravado, defeatism, cynicism, sentimentalism and conceit. He traces Ireland’s story from the paranoid insularism and cultural myopia that followed national Independence, though the post-Sixties obsession with a faux ‘self-confidence’, to the final, salutary meltdown of the Celtic Tiger, and strangely lacking either Celts or tigers.

Once among the oldest civilization in Europe, Ireland has ended up as a second-rate version of the England it tried to discard. It threw out not merely the bathwater and the baby, but also the bathtub, the sponge and the rubber duck...

Anonymous said...

MR GM 8.65 per hr seems to me smallish money in a place with a ripoff mindset like irl ,where degenerate parisitic slugs in the govt banks etc earn so much , now the IMF are in why not bring in the FBI to locate all irls xmasters of the universe gombeen criminals where ever they live, and bring them home via cuba after a spell of watersports in guantonamo bay UP KERRY -BH

Anonymous said...

Well done Anna, you are quite correct

Feckers: 50 People Who Fecked Up Ireland - John Waters Paperback
Paperback: 288 pages Publisher: Constable (14 Oct 2010) Language English ISBN-10: 1849014426 ISBN-13: 978-1849014427

Keith said...

It took sometime for the minimum wage to get to this level. There has been a whole lot of sacrifice done before some reprieve. Minimum wage never ever does down. Some have tried but revolt was not far behind.

The Gombeen Man said...

I'll go along with that, BH. They are the true terrorists.

Yes Keith... I thought it was called a minimum wage for a reason, but apparently not. It seems that the Government want to make work less attractive for people who are paidly paid as it is.