There was a protest outside Supermacs, O'Connell Street, yesterday against an attempt by employers' umbrella group, the Quick Service Food Alliance, to have a wage-setting mechanism declared "unconstitutional".
The employers' group, which represents Irish fast food outlets Supermacs and Eddie Rockets, along with US giant Burger King, is questioning the right of the Catering Joint Labour Committee to safeguard a basic minimum rate of pay for those who work in the industry.
I took a leaflet from one of the protesters which you can read, or download, below. It claims that all of these companies have seen profit increases, yet they want to drive down the wages of those who work for them.
The Constitution has, in the past, been invoked and interpreted through the courts to back up the interests of the rich and powerful - be they landlords, judges, bankers or politicians.
Protected tenancies, for instance, were done away after a landlord by the name of Madigan took a case in 1980. More recently, overpaid judges hid behind the Constitution when asked to take a pay cut. Bankers' bonuses had the same protection, we were told. Cutting the minimum wage, of course, was not "unconstitutional".
No doubt greedy, exploitative employers took heart when Fianna Fail - the Republican Party - cut the minimum wage by one Euro an hour in its last days of power. They made it open season on poorly paid workers with one final two-fingered salute. What a "republic" we live in.
If the courts find in favour of the shysters from the Quick Service Food Alliance, it really is time to scrap de Valera and MacQuaid's 1937 Constitution through means of a constitutional review, and replace it with one which protects the interests of its citizens rather than privileged interest groups.
If people cannot find the wherewithal to question what is most rotten about this country in crisis times such as these, they never will.
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