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Call for 9% vat rate to be conditional on improved pay and conditions – Quinlivan

15 June, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has called on the government to compel the Hotel, Restaurant and Vintners Federations to engage with the Joint Labour Committees with a view to regulating pay and conditions in the hospitality sector. Speaking during questions to the Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’ Connor, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“The hospitality sector is an important part of the Irish economy.

“It is now experiencing growth and there are over 137,000 people employed in it, with more than 23,000 jobs created since 2011 – aided largely by the low 9 percent vat rate.

“According to the Irish Hotel Federation, the national hotel occupancy rate is at a 10 year high and 82% of hoteliers across the state have benefited from the boom.

“However while I welcome this, the 9% vat rate costs the state €350 million a year.

“Yet the reality of life for people working in the sector is long hours, poor working conditions and low pay. So while job creation is welcome, there is a serious question about the quality of these jobs.

“Of the 137,000 workers employed in Accommodation and Food Services more than 50 % earn less than 400 Euros per week; 17% of all employees in the sector only earned the national minimum hourly wage while 41% of workers are part-time and 59% full-time.

“Indeed while €697.52 Euros is the weekly average wage, in the hospitality sector the average wage is €324.86 with TASC recently describing the sector as characterised by what are effectively zero-hours contracts.

“Ireland is a deeply unequal society where the work of service workers, predominantly women is undervalued and underpaid.

“The refusal by employers in the sector to participate in the JLC structure and agree terms on pay and conditions is not acceptable when they are in receipt of public money via the reduced vat rate which is badly needed elsewhere.   

“I am calling on the Minister to make retention of the 9% vat rate to the sector conditional on it engaging with the JLCs and the introduction of Employment Regulation Orders.”  END


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