28 August 2008 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
Underpaid drug services staff work to rule
WORKERS at locally-based drug services in Clondalkin, Dublin, run by the Health Services Executive (HSE) have have embarked on a work-to-rule because they are being paid significantly less than some co-workers despite a 2005 recommendation for equal pay by the Labour Court.
IMPACT official Christine Cully said:
“It was a difficult decision for our members in this area to take a vote on industrial action as they know it will have serious implications for the community. But they have been left with no choice and they feel that the HSE has forced their hand in taking this action now.
“These workers provide a vital service to people with drug addiction and their families. But there is a real danger that services like these will collapse as voluntary and community organisations struggle to retain staff, if those staff cannot be employed on an equal footing.”
Hospitality workers keep tax-free tips
STAFF in the hospitality sector will not be charged VAT on tips they receive during the course of their work under new rules to be enforced next week. Money received from some service charges, however, will be subject to VAT.
Service charges are included in the bill to the customer in some bars and restaurants. Unless the service charges are distributed in full to workers, they will be subject to VAT of 13.5 per cent. Tips given at the discretion of the customer not included in the bill will be exempt.
A SIPTU spokesperson said the changes to service charges will adversely affect those working in hotels and restaurants. The original aim of the VAT exclusion on the charge was to ensure that staff actually get the money intended for them. SIPTU says there is confusion over what is liable for VAT.
Childcare costs increasing pressure on workers
AN INFORMATION website for parents on childcare has said this week that price increases which are putting pressure on working parents are going to worsen.
According to Martin O’Brien, director of CrècheClub Ireland, the average cost of childcare in Dublin is €1,000 per month and this is already the top end of affordability for parents. The average cost of childcare for parents based in the West is €750 per month.
“Crèches are increasingly improving their facilities so this drives up the price.
“Wages for childcare teachers are very bad and over the next five years there has to be a new pay scale and this will probably be passed on to parents, making it more expensive.
“Some parents will be forced to stay at home to mind their children, or job-share in order to save money on childcare.”
Women still paid less than men
FIGURES recently released by the European Industrial Relations Observatory show that, on average, women earn up to 16 per cent less than men who do similar jobs across EU member states.
In Portugal, average women’s earnings were 74.6 per cent of men’s earnings, with Germany and Holland providing 78 per cent and 80 per cent of the average men’s earnings.
Countries which showed greatest equality in earnings were Slovenia and Belgium where women earn 93 per cent of equivalent men’s earnings.
Ireland, Belgium, Greece and Italy show a notably narrower gender wage gap of 10 per cent or less.
Eurofound, which conducted the survey, said that the gender pay gap in the EU15 countries is shrinking as the pay gap had been as much as 17.5 per cent in their 2006 pay review.