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Senator Paul Gavan calls for better wages and conditions for bar staff

16 May, 2017 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan, Seanad Spokesperson for Workers’ Rights, has called on the Government to ensure that proposals to change licensing laws for Good Friday are linked to better pay and conditions for bar staff.

Following a meeting this afternoon with representatives of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), Senator Gavan reiterated his call for better conditions in the hospitality sector in general and also called on the Vintners to commit to paying staff a premium for working on Good Friday.

Welcoming today’s engagement with VFI and LVA regarding proposals to allow public houses to open on Good Friday, Senator Gavan said:

"The least that the Vintners should do is deliver a decent premium to staff for working on Good Friday. While there is no legal requirement for them to do this I believe it would be due recognition for the dedicated staff working on that day.

“While I recognise that there are a great many good employers in the sector, the National Employment Rights Authority, NERA, reports that 48% of employers in the trade were in breach of basic employment legislation.

“We know that there are abuses in terms of split shifts, unfair rosters, and not paying proper premiums for working on Sunday or overtime rates. The latest CSO statistics show that 75% of employees in the food, drink and accommodation sector earn less than €400 gross a week.

"There has been a welcome uplift in trade for licensed premises over the last couple of years, but staff are not seeing any of the benefits trickling down to their pay packets. In fact, the average pay for the sector has decreased from €334 per week in 2008 to €321 in 2016, according to CSO statistics. Too many workers employed in the trade rely on precarious work contracts and rates of pay that do not enable them to live with dignity.

“While the Bill is being examined in the Oireachtas I would urge the government to engage with the trade unions, Mandate and SIPTU in particular, and call on the vintners and the other folks involved in the accommodation and food sector to acknowledge that there are poor standards in terms of pay and conditions and engage with the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) process. The JLC's offer a roadmap to better standards in service and pay for the hospitality sector."


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