Wednesday 21 February 2018

Accountancy giants accused over their working conditions

ICTU chief Patricia King Photo: Damien Eagers
ICTU chief Patricia King Photo: Damien Eagers
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

One of the most senior trade unionists in Ireland has hit out at working conditions for young recruits in the big accountancy firms, claiming they are at times working long hours in stressful conditions under the threat of being fired if they speak out.

Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), said she has heard reports about the treatment of young graduates recruited by the so-called 'Big Four' accountancy giants - Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC.

Ms King said there was at times an "imbalanced relationship" between employer and employee.

"In some cases they're worked very long hours, they're in very stressful situations in audits and everything else, and actually the deal is, if you raise your head and raise any form of objection, you're out of here, and your training [is] discontinued, and your career path is over," Ms King claimed. She was speaking to delegates at the Financial Services Union conference.

Asked by the Irish Independent if ICTU had heard specific reports of an oppressive work culture at the firms, Ms King said: "ICTU would have a broad view on this. We talk to a lot of young people.

"We have a fairly strong youth organisation ourselves in ICTU so I think we would be aware of the industry-only regulated scenario in relation to these traineeship schemes."

In response, Susan Kilty, PwC people partner, said the company's graduate training programme is an "excellent experience" where graduates get "great and varied work".

Ms Kilty said they are looked after and given a "buddy" to support them. Deloitte declined to comment, while KPMG and EY did not respond to requests for comment.

Irish Independent

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