|Minister Bruton: Isolated. Good job too. |
Stick him on a desert island to encourage the others
The media here are reporting that Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton is looked “increasingly isolated”. Good job too. I'm getting hot under the collar. Takes me back to the mother and father of a row on just this issue when I was a union convenor 10 years ago in York. When’s the demo that’s what I want to know. I've heard various union leaders on the radio in the last 24 hrs but can't find any campaigning material yet. Soon I hope.
Ah yes, I forgot to mention what this whole thing’s about. Bruton is mounting an assault on premium Sunday and overtime pay rates for low-paid workers, and correspondents are reporting that Taoiseach Enda Kenny and cabinet colleagues are distancing themselves from him on the issue.
Kenny called Bruton’s proposals the “publication of a personal agenda". And an RTÉ correspondent reported on the radio an hour ago that Kenny gave Bruton bad body language in the Dáil today. If the Labour Party who are in this coalition government allow this through … well lets hope not, they are making the right noises at the moment …
I don’t quite follow the technicalities, but it seems Bruton is intending to cut Sunday pay (and maybe other premium rates it’s not clear at present) by monkeying around with the terms of employment rights orders (ERO) or registered employment agreements (REA). The sectors that will suffer include hotels, restaurants, hairdressing, contract cleaning, security, grocery, retail and tailoring.
EROs fix minimum pay and conditions in sectors based on the deliberations of a joint labour committee of union and employer representatives with an independent chairman. REAs are collective agreements between employers and unions which are registered with the Labour Court and are enforceable in law.
There's a Duffy-Walsh report, which recommends overhauling the basic framework of the existing joint labour committee/registered employment agreement system for setting wages. But Bruton has gone further than this and has announced his assault on premium pay rates.
Explainer in the Irish Times.