My political heart gets upset when I see the slide into dire wages and exploitation coming down the track. I don’t give a flying F… what the labels are on political parties. It is what they do that counts. Like Enda Kenny I will be marking the gove

Thousands face pay cuts under wage reform plan

Minister sticks to his guns on lower pay rates and Sundays | 29/07/2011

MARTIN WALL, Industry Correspondent, and STEPHEN COLLINS, Political Editor

PAY RATES for tens of thousands of workers to be employed in the
future in sectors such as catering, hotels, retail and hairdressing
are likely to be reduced on foot of controversial Government reforms
to wage-setting mechanisms.

In addition staff in these sectors will lose their current legal
entitlements to special Sunday premium payments.

Instead they will have to rely on existing employment legislation
which allows employers a choice of measures to recognise Sunday
working including the provision of time off in lieu.

Companies will also be allowed to derogate from the terms of
employment regulation orders governing terms and conditions in cases
of financial difficulty.

The trade union Unite said last night it would not rule out industrial
action in protest at the Government’s planned measures. The plan was
also strongly criticised by Mandate, the union representing retail

Under the Government’s reform plan, employment regulation orders which
are set out following the deliberations of joint labour committees
(JLCs) involving union and employer representatives will have to be
revised using new criteria.

These include competitiveness factors, average hourly rates set in
comparable sectors in Ireland’s main trading partners as well as
employment and unemployment rates,

Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton said yesterday there was an
expectation that “hiring costs will come down” as a result of this
measure and there would be an opportunity for companies to take on new

However, Mr Bruton said existing staff would not be affected as they
have contractual arrangements with their employers.

Despite sharp differences between the Government parties over the
initial proposals to reform the JLC system put forward by Mr Bruton,
Labour TDs yesterday strongly supported the final measures which were
approved by the Cabinet this week.

Fianna Fáil described the outcome as “a worrying development”.