The Living Wage

The Living Wage

October 24th, 2022

At a recent meeting of the Retail Forum, CSNA Chief Executive Vincent Jennings requested that the representative bodies be afforded the opportunity by the Department to engage with The Low Pay Commission to discuss the recently adopted Living Wage proposals.

Members will be aware that the proposal must be viewed in addition to the increased cost to payroll that will follow the implementation of the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme, the Auto Enrolment Scheme and possible changes to employers’ contribution of PRSI. We also note with alarm the most recent attempt by the State to reintroduce the Joint Labour Committee system (JLC).

The meeting will be held next week

Employers are becoming increasingly concerned that they, rather than the State are viewed as being responsible for the financial well-being of their employees. Employers are not responsible for the enormous increases in the costs of living, they are not responsible for the lack of investment in childcare and housing or affordable transport.

There is little doubt that our workforce are finding the experience of making ends meet both troubling and exhausting, but the answer cannot be solely to expect the employer to pay more money without very significant efforts from the State to reduce the costs affecting both employees and employers.

Many of those claiming to represent workers will be ever-so-quick to suggest that if an employer’s business module requires their workforce to earn less than what they consider to be a Living Wage then they shouldn’t be in business. We are entering a phase where the genuine difficulties that small and medium sized enterprises experience seem to be ignored in favour of a populist and popular approach.

Every employer and business owner in our sector must be aware that as payroll costs increase , our wafer-thin operating margins experience pressure , making future investment plans and increased employment unlikely.

We can’t adopt the discounters’ style of operation but reducing our workforce following the implementation of cost-saving devices is certainly an action that comes into consideration.

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