Monday, 30 May 2011

IBEC targets low paid workers... again

The Fine Gael / Labour Government has delivered on its promise to restore the minimum wage to €8.65 per hour, after Fianna Fail and the Greens cut it by €1 last February.

Now, however, it seems the Government's sights are set on other low paid workers, such as the 240,000 working under Joint Labour Committee and Registered Employment Agreements (JLC/REA).

There, it seems, is some disagreement among the coalition partners on the issue, and rightly so. It would be scandalous if the Labour Party were to acquiesce with elements of Fine Gael and the employers' groups to reduce the pay of workers already living in, or close to poverty, whilst working in precarious employment.

Already, low paid workers on as little as €4,000 have to pay the Universal Social Charge. It is a wonder that they bother to work at all given that Joan Burton has ruled out cutting the dole of the long-term unemployed... some of whom, I imagine, have never done a day's work in their lives.

Employers' group IBEC are calling for the abolition of premium payments for working Sundays - a practise it describes as "ridiculous". We can assume, however, that no-one working for IBEC is either badly paid or has to clock in on Sundays.

No doubt IBEC will cite "competitiveness" issues in their quest to further penalise the working poor. Perhaps, however, it should extract its collective head from its collective posterior and look at practices elsewhere in Europe?

I am just back from a holiday in France and had to get used to the idea of everything being closed on a Sunday. The reason for this is that the French protect their social and family time emphatically. Working on Sundays and bank holidays is obviously unsocial and French workers simply don't do it - premium payments or not.

For badly paid workers in Ireland, the only way they can bolster their wages is by working unsocial days and hours. Their terms and conditions should be left alone - there are far more deserving targets for cutbacks than the working poor.

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Mad as hellboy and not gonna take it anymore said...

Dead right GM and I too love the 'set days' model that the French use and especially the long lunch which mitigates in favour of allowing workers to go home for an unrushed meal with their peeps rather than stuffing down maccers at their desks. I used to enjoy the shorter opening hours here in Aus too before the all-night commerce set in. I didn't mind having to fill my car up on any day barring sundays or saturday afternoons, knowing that the guys at the servo were having the weekend off like the rest of us. Same with shopping. The major supermarkets are open from 6.00 am till midnight here. Why??? The only reason (and to bring this rant back to having some meaning in an Irish context) that I can see is that it enables the major operators to squeeze out the minor corner shop merchants and deliver us all safely to their utopian hypermarket world. All it's done for me though is to have made me plant a very productive garden out the back and I'm happy to report that I can now give them and their scrawny tired out veg displays the fingers every time I wrestle a massive leek out of the ground or inspect a line of well turned out carrots. No room for cow but I don't mind paying the local butcher over the odds for steaks - at least it keeps him there in a shop that smells like a butchers shop and he's a damn sight more interesting to talk to than the specimen behind the meat counter at the supermarket. As far as petrol goes- I've noticed a corner of the garden where a rainbow sheen forms on any puddles there so that's where I'm going to drill for oil. I'm alright Jack as they say so SCREW YOU Woolies, Tescos et al. Especially cocky at the moment of course with 30 kilos of tuna in the freezer, so screw you too John West. Now off to find my sniper's rifle and find a way up to the top of a really tall building ha ha

The Gombeen Man said...

30 kilos, eh? Get yourself a cannery operation going and you're in business, PB.

Yes, the opening hours thing has gone completely crazy here... The Tescos down the road from us is openn 24 hours a day. I'd like to see Richard Bruton and the head of IBEC put in a few early hours stints there for a flat rate.

anna said...

"Gravy train still stops at all the right stations"- excellent article by Fintan O'Toole today's Irish Times 1st June, 2011, see link below

Ivor Callely will get EUR 63,000 a year for the rest of his life ye Richard Bruton targets the poorest workers