Thursday 17 January 2019

Hotel industry asks Ross to let it keep wages down and hire foreign chefs


Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Agency, Dublin
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Agency, Dublin

Fearghal O'Connor

Representatives for hotel and pub owners have pushed the Government not to increase the minimum wage and to allow them to hire chefs from countries outside the EU.

The Irish Hotels Federation has met tourism minister Shane Ross on a number of occasions this year to ensure that he does not introduce measures improving workers' terms and conditions that will add to costs in the hospitality sector.

IHF chief executive Tim Fenn met Ross to tell him that the organisation believed that the Government should increase its focus on "social policy measures and interventions", as opposed to increasing the level of the national minimum wage to deal with standards of living that have been impacted by market failure, according to a record of the meeting.

Fenn told Ross that public policy in this area should consciously reflect the current and possible future negative direct and indirect economic impact of Brexit and that it should seek to support competitiveness whenever possible, rather than worsening it with wage increases.

On another occasion, Fenn met Ross in a bid to have a controversial labour agreement - a so-called joint labour committee - abolished and for no new employment regulation orders for hotels to be implemented.

The organisation has long argued that the JLC threatens jobs and growth in the sector because it drives up costs. Trade unions have countered that argument by pointing to the reduced Vat rate the sector enjoys even as prices in many establishments have tended to rise.

In a third meeting, Fenn asked Ross to remove a range of categories of chef from the Ineligible Categories of Employment List - which restricts the granting of work visas - in order to facilitate recruitment in an industry that has seen a huge boom in employment as the tourism sector has grown strongly on the back of the promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way and other initiatives.

Sunday Indo Business

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