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Ferris rejects calls for wage cuts in tourism

23 March, 2010 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers Rights, Martin Ferris TD, rejected any attempt that might be made to further reduce wage levels for people working in the tourist sector.

The Kerry North TD was speaking during a debate on a Private Members motion on tourism. Part of the Fine Gael motion referred to ‘the archaic nature of the Joint Labour Committee wage setting system.’

Deputy Ferris said: “I would be concerned that there might be an attempt to further undermine wage levels in what is already a low paying sector of the economy. There has been intensive lobbying by businesses, including from within the hotel and catering sector, against the minimum wage and against the rates set by regulatory orders.

“That has been successful to the extent that the Government is now proposing to allow businesses to opt out of wage agreements by claiming that they cannot afford to pay people what are already fairly basic levels of pay. That needs to be resisted as does the argument that sectors like tourism are dependent on paying people low wages.

“The argument for cutting wages and indeed abolishing the Minimum Wage is also dishonest. As we all know people who have children and who are earning low wages are in many cases entitled to claim Family Income Supplement. In effect what that means is that low wage employers expect that the state will subsidise them by making up the difference.

“The state, of course, by paying Family Income Supplement is recognising that the Minimum wage is not sufficient to maintain a family in any reasonable way. This Government then is dishonest in proposing to allow employers to drive down wages when it knows that it will have to pay their employees from state funds.” ENDS

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