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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