SIPTU Criticises Irish Hotel Staff Pay

3rd March 2008 (Last Updated March 3rd, 2008 11:26)

Irish workers' union SITPU has launched an attack on the country's hospitality sector over low wages, as the industry holds the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) conference in Kilkenny. SIPTU regional secretary Christy McQuillan says although the industry takes in close to €6.5bn in to

Irish workers’ union SITPU has launched an attack on the country’s hospitality sector over low wages, as the industry holds the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) conference in Kilkenny.

SIPTU regional secretary Christy McQuillan says although the industry takes in close to €6.5bn in tourism revenue each year, it pays some of the lowest wages.

The average annual profit per room is almost €10,000, yet the National Employment Rights Authority has identified serious breaches of workers entitlements in 58 percent of hotels inspected, McQuillan says.

“The IHF likes to present an image of excellence but beneath the glitzy surface is an industry based on low pay and the exploitation of vulnerable workers.

“Almost a third of the workforce, 38,800, is non-national. This is by far the highest proportion of non-nationals of any sector of the economy. It is almost double the percentage in sectors such as manufacturing, at 15.2 percent and construction, at 14.2 percent.”

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh