SOCIALIST Party councillor Mick Barry this morning lambasted the Restaurants Association of Ireland and Small Firms Association for what he called a “blackmail policy” of promising jobs in return for the wages and conditions of low-paid and vulnerable workers covered by JLC and REA agreements being slashed.
Cllr Barry said that these employers’ organisations were trying to use mass unemployment as a battering ram to lower the wages and conditions of workers.
Cllr Barry said that a Combat Poverty report published in 2009 (“The Working Poor in Ireland”) found that 32 per cent of households living in consistent poverty in Ireland were headed by workers. The report also found that more than 50 per cent of working households at risk of poverty were headed by workers in the service sector with particularly high representation for retails workers and workers in the hotel and catering industry.
“JLC and REA agreements were introduced to protect precisely these vulnerable workers whose wages and conditions are now being targeted by the Restaurants Association and the Small Firms Association.
“The Government’s deal with the IMF and the EU puts 240,000 workers at risk of pay cuts under this JLC and REA ‘review’. Workers must organise to resist cuts in pay and conditions and the Socialist Party will do everything in our power to assist workers to resist these attacks,” he said.