Monday, 12 September 2011

Travellers' slavery racket, JLCs, RAI and 490 new restaurant jobs

Morning Ireland today reported on five Irish travellers being arrested in Britain in connection with an alleged slavery racket.  

24 men, recruited from soup kitchens and UK benefits offices, were allegedly held captive on the site and were required to work while living in subsistence conditions.

Ironically, the next item on the programme had supposedly respectable Irish restauranteurs waxing lyrical about a recent High Court ruling which found legislation that protected workers in the retail and hospitality industry "unconstitutional".   The same court system that maintained judges’ pay and €800,000 senior civil servant and banker pay-offs.

The scrapping of wage legislation safeguarding the poorly paid (called JLCs – Joint Labour Committees) had resulted in “490 new jobs” being created since the start of July, gloated the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI). 

Really?  What quality of jobs then?    Interestingly, MacDonalds, who recently took on 150 new staff, said its new jobs were nothing to do with the scrapping of the JLCs.  They had been planned long ago. 

By the way, it was *Eddie Rocket’s, Supermacs and Burger King who took the court challenge to attack their workers' conditions.  Something to bear in mind if you are wondering which brand of trans fats to plump for...

What the court ruling did was give unscrupulous Irish restauranteurs carte blanche to exploit already exploited workers even further -  many of them foreign nationals doing work the Irish would not give up their benefit payments for.    And really,  if they can’t pay the wages, these so-called entrepreneurs do not have viable businesses anyhow.

And now a final thought.   Years ago a mate of mine worked in the kitchen of a prestigious Dublin hotel. He told me some of the things that went into the soup of the day, and you really do not want to know what they were. 

Put it this way -  you definitely don’t want disgruntled workers preparing your food.

* What is Eddie Rocket’s about anyway? Burgers with knives and forks at twice the price?

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Dakota said...

This is surreal now GM.

The Gombeen Man said...

Sure don't I know it, D...

Ella said...

Sure is surreal. It's also truly shocking in this day and age. Anyway.... a little off topic but somewhere I find the timing of the whole thing a little well... the authorities are about to turf out travellers from Dale Farm and it just reinforces the negative feelings that a lot of joe public have against travellers.

JOHN said...

I see 18 million pounds being quoted in the English press for the cost of turfing them off Dale farm. A big portion of the costs will be police overtime etc;Interesting that they only now found out about the"Slaves" after 10 years of occupation.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes Ella, John. The timing is a bit iffy alright. I would definitely be interested to hear the outcome of that whole business with the travellers - assuming the truth is established.

The only reason I mentioned them was to bring attention - and draw an ironic parallel - to the plight of our own slave labourers here in Ireland, particularly in the "hospitality industry".

In fact, I seem to remember cases where non-EU national workers were being kept in what amounted to bonded labour by unscrupulous Irish employers. I don't recall any of those employers being arrested though. Ibec might actually commend them.

Disheartened Boy said...

Hi Troops - in dubai for a couple of days and spent a few minutes eavesdropping on a business type discussing which luxury car he would be prepared to accept during the course of his contract here. Picked up one of the English Emirates papers and read about an Indian "guest worker" who was found dead in his room over the weekend - police don't suspect foul play. Took a trip to the Ski Dubai mall in the 48 degree heat past all the new high rises going up and watched the battalions of workers out there slaving in it. What a world. on a lighter note - anyone got the recipe for that soup. Looks like a waste pond from The Simpsons. PB

john said...

A HIGH-PROFILE restaurateur has been ordered to pay a worker €91,000 for gross exploitation which has been likened to slavery
So reports the Independent, this case happened here in Ireland. In this article the Migrants rights organisation state:
"In Ireland there is no legal punishment for forced labour and so the only remedy open to Mr Younis was to pursue breaches of employment law," said Grainne O'Toole of the MRCI.

"Ireland was in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to bring in legal protection against slavery and forced labour," she added.

On that point I would beg to differ in that the trafficking act includes prosecution for forced labour but has not been acted upon by the DPP or police.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Ponyboy. It's disheartening alright, mate. Very.

BTW. You don't want the recipe for that soup.

@ John. Thanks for that - I hadn't heard it today, between one thing and another.

albert hall said...

An Irish comic opera. Travellers refusing to travel. Can't make up stories like that.