Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in bed together over hotel sector VAT subsidy - Senator Paul Gavan
Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has asked Fianna Fail and Fine Gael representatives to declare any financial interests they may have in the Tourism and Hospitality sector.
The Sinn Féin Seanad Spokesperson on Workers Rights was reacting to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's decision to come together in order to block Sinn Féin's motion on better pay and conditions for workers in the hospitality sector.
Currently, despite effectively receiving a subsidy of €620 million a year through reduced VAT, hospitality sector employer groups have consistently refused to engage with the Joint Labour Committee (JLC )structures.
If passed, Sinn Féin's motion would have called on employers to immediately engage with the State's wage setting mechanism for low paid workers, and establish a (JLC) for the sector.
Speaking during the debate, Gavan said:
"I find it amazing that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are here to represent the owners of hotels. In the context of this debate the public should know how many Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Deputies, Senators and councillors have a stake in this industry. Why are they ignoring the elephant in the room, namely, the appalling working conditions in this sector?
"Over 50% of hospitality workers in this sector earn less than €400 per week, while many don't know from one week to the next what hours they will get to work
"All we are asking is that there be proper engagement between the trade unions and employers to set up a joint labour committee. We are saying that, before the huge annual subsidy for this sector is agreed, the Government should at the very least insist that employers engage with trade unions to improve standards for workers and the industry."