The problems for the Irish economy continue to mount and now it appears that around 200,000 people working in hotels, restaurants, retailing and other sectors could be hit with significant pay cuts.
Under the proposals being considered by the Government, overtime would be restricted and staff would lose their legal entitlement to special Sunday premium payments. It is expected that enterprise minister Richard Bruton will make a decision by the end of June regarding an overhaul of the system of setting minimum terms and conditions in these sectors.
The Duffy Walsh report wants to see the retention of the JLC wage setting mechanism so that vulnerable workers are protected. It found that no significant job creation would result from their abolition. However, Bruton’s proposals would restrict their scope and could potentially cause fury among unions.
His proposals include restricting overtime and Sunday premium payments which could result in a pay cut for those in sectors like retail grocery, security and hairdressing. There are also proposals to change the scope of a JLC regardless of consent from all parties and provision for inability to pay procedures for employers. There is a deadline of June 10 for discussions with employers, unions and the EU IMF troika with an action plan to be brought to cabinet by June 21.
How to avoid the pinch
If you think your wages might be under threat, it’s worth taking action now to soften the blow. One option is to look for ways to supplement your income – such as by selling unwanted items on eBay; or taking on a part-time job. Also look at your bank accounts and see if you could move your money to earn a better rate of interest.
However, for most of us, there is little time to take on additional work. As such it’s better to look for ways to reduce our outgoings. The first step here should be to review old bank statements and look where your money is going each month – chances are there are unnecessary expenditures such as gym memberships you no longer use or magazine subscriptions you no longer read, that could be cut out. Also consider whether you can make savings in your day-to-day living – such as by car sharing on your way to work, or by cutting out morning coffees or taking a packed lunch from home rather than buying sandwiches every day.
Also take the opportunity to review your financial products. Use comparison websites to switch to better deals for insurance products and utility bills – you may even wish to consider remortgaging to a better interest rate. When spending money, also ensure you’re getting the best deals possible by switching to online shopping and taking advantage of promo codes on everything from groceries to fashion.
Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash