Some lad from Labour (who sounds like a character out of Dallas, right?) has organised a #livingwage forum today. Labour and a living wage forum? Jaysus, it’s like an episode of Red Dwarf at this stage.
The whole thing is presented as an optional extra for employers, or what iJoan referred to as a “voluntary bench mark”. Get fucking real. The biggest mind melt in this whole fiasco is the spectacle of government ministers talking out of both sides of their mouths.
Take the Tanaiste herself calling on employers to implement the damn thing cos god forbid she’d be bothered using her own legislative powers to do so. On the one hand they go with the rather miserly 50c minimum wage increase (in the face of popular criticism and the rejection of trade unions and migrant groups) and then they bay about the need for a living wage at events like this.
Those scabs at the Small Firms Association came out today to say it’s impossible to pay a living wage to employees, a wonderful insight into how their members profits are subsidized with cheap sweat and backed up with welfare subsidies. You can just imagine what those sleeveens at IBEC said.
The track record on the big bosses adopting the living wage tag here out of a sense of social solidarity is fairly scant. Sure, we have the example of IKEA.
And Lidl have been cutesying themselves up by agreeing to pay it in the UK. While their profits aren’t published, we can surmise they still cream it in at the end of the day. This move costs them only £9 million in the UK. It’s not a ball buster of a cost is it?
Yet being the socially motivated goodies they are, Lidl still face accusations of discrimination up North and when it comes to this side of the border, they are delivering nothing for workers in the Republic.
The living wage is a fantastic campaign, yet you’d be forgiven for thinking today was a pantomime scripted by Labour politicians trying to save face after a disastrous coalition.
Like in the UK, it might be worth stepping back and separating out what a living wage means from the realities and actions of the mealy mouthed politicians.
“I believe that work should always pay” says the minister. Good man Ged. If you’re reading this, take a whirl through our most recent ramblings on Jobbridge so. That a boy.
The sense of a party PR machine at work got more nauseating when iJoan used the forum to announce Labour would become #livingwage employer. It wasn’t so long ago they were looking for a jobsbridger to help them celebrate their centenary.
This is an issue that needs to be taken back. The talking heads of Irish business ridicule a living wage. Inspiration should come from successful grassroots campaigns, such as the beating meted out to McDonalds in NZ.
We need to popularize a statutory living wage with proper bite. To get there means action not lip service.