‘Jobs Initiative’: Irish Restaurant Sector will create 4000 new jobs if Joint Labour Committees are Abolished

Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI), body representing the interests of Ireland’s restaurant industry today urged Government to abolish the Catering Joint Labour Committee (JLC), as part of tomorrows ‘Jobs Initiative’ and to immediately scrap Sunday Premiums Payments.

The JLC sets minimum terms and conditions of employment in the catering sector above and beyond the national minimum wage, including premium payment for weekend and overtime work. An independent review of these wage rules is being conducted as part of the agreement with the EU and IMF.

Restaurant Association of Ireland Chief Executive, Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive states that the current Joint Labour Committee system results in an effective minimum wage ranging from €9.32 per hour for restaurants. He says, “The current system makes absolutely no sense for our country as we try to work our way out of the depths of an economic crisis. The economic situation in Ireland has changed dramatically but the JLC system has not taken this into account in any way.  It is forcing restaurants, which are struggling to survive and in many cases operating at loss, to pay a premium over and above the national minimum wage.”

Results from survey of Restaurants conducted by the Restaurants Association of Ireland last week showed that Catering Employment Regulation Orders imposed by Joint Labour Committees were creating a barrier to employment.

  • 37.2% of Restaurants surveyed Close on Sunday due to Sunday Premium Payments.
  • 85% of Restaurants surveyed stated that they would employ a minimum of 2 more staff if Employment Regulation Orders set by Joint Labour Committees were scrapped.

Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association of Ireland Chief Executive, stated that if 85% of the 2500 licenced restaurants in the country employed 2 more staff, the Restaurant sector would yield over 4000 new jobs for the Government.

Question for Competition Authority of Ireland if Joint Labour Committees are Anti-Competitive.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland also has questioned why the Competition Authority of Ireland hasn’t intervened in the discussion regarding the Review of the Joint Labour Committees set up by the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation.

“The Restaurants Association of Ireland were taken aback by the non-engagement by the Competition Authority of Ireland in the Review of the Joint Labour Committees. You have to question if the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation who are the parent Department of the Competition Authority of Ireland didn’t want the obvious question answered. Are the Employment Regulation Orders Anti-Competitive or not. ?”

Potential 1000 Work Placement Apprenticeship schemes in Restaurants.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland also outlined the possibility of taking a further 1000 unemployed off the Live Register under a Restaurant Work placement Apprenticeship scheme.

“The Restaurant Sector are willing to develop a Restaurant Work placement Apprenticeship scheme in association with Failte Ireland, FAS and Department of Social Protection that gives employers the financial incentive to take on apprentices and helps participants protect their social welfare entitlements. The current work placement scheme run by FAS is unworkable for the restaurant sector.”

1: Unfair Joint Labour Committee System must be Abolished- Or More Jobs will be Lost.

  • Abolishing Catering Joint Labour Committee Minimum rates. Ireland is 54% higher than Spain and 23% Higher than UK.
    • The Restaurant Association of Ireland maintains that the national minimum wage should be the sole statutory minimum wage in Ireland so as to provide fairness for all employers and foster job creation. This would replace the array of legal wage rates established by the JLC process which imposes legally binding conditions of employment to which other economic sectors are not subject.
    • Most Expensive Country in EU to run a Restaurant.

3. Abolishing the Sunday Premium Scheme. Only Country in Europe that pay a premium

  • Only Country in Europe that pay a premium
  • Restaurant Owners pay 33% wage premium on a Sunday.

The Irish Restaurant industry employs 64,000 people (1 in 4 tourism jobs) and contributes €2 billion to the Irish economy each year.

  • Irish restaurateurs pay the  highest catering wage rate in Europe
  • Ireland has the highest excise duty on wines in Europe
  • Irish food cost inputs are 24% above the European average.
    Cost Of Food Preparation Report’, commissioned by Fáilte Ireland)

The Joint Labour Committee system was established under the Industrial Relations Act 1946, but has its origins in the Trade Board Act 1909.

National Minimum Wage Rates 2011
Country per Hour
Luxembourg 10.14
Ireland Catering ERO 9.32
France 9.00
Netherlands 8.22
Belgium 8.16
Ireland Minimum Wage 7.65
U K 7.06
Austria 6.73
Cyprus 4.85
Greece 4.27
Spain 4.01
Malta 3.84
Slovenia 3.06
Portugal 2.80
Slovak 1.83
Estonia 1.60

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