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Economic crisis and the restructuring of wage setting mechanisms for vulnerable workers in Ireland Thomas Turner and Michelle O’Sullivan ICTU Women’s Conference 1 st March 2012 Historical context. Trade Boards were predecessors to JLCs

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Economic crisis and the restructuring of wage setting mechanisms for vulnerable workers in IrelandThomas Turner and Michelle O’SullivanICTU Women’s Conference1st March

historical context
Historical context
  • Trade Boards were predecessors to JLCs
  • Designed to protect low paid workers where collective bargaining was inadequate
  • The Industrial Relations Act 1946
    • Renamed JLCs
    • Widened powers
first challenge to jlcs
First challenge to JLCs
  • Constitutional challenge against Catering JLC from Quick Service Food Alliance 2008
  • Research on employers’ reasons for legal challenge:
    • Improved enforcement by NERA
    • Higher detection of underpayments
    • Employers critical of overtime pay, particularly Sunday pay
second emerging challenge
Second emerging challenge
  • Economic crisis
  • Arguments that JLC pay rates were “costing jobs”
  • IMF/EU/ECB bail-out
    • Commitment to review JLC system
    • “Need to increase flexibility and facilitate re-adjustment in the labour market”
paper objectives
Paper objectives
  • To examine the structure of earnings & hours of low paid workers
    • What groups more likely to earn JLC wages?
    • Examine extent of overtime & shift working
    • Examine extent of overtime earnings, shift allowances and bonuses to low paid workers
    • Comparison of low paid and higher paid workers re overtime etc. earnings
  • 2007 National Employment Survey (NES) in the private sector
  • Dependent measure is average hourly earnings
  • Approximately 75 per cent of respondents (44,861) in the private sector
  • Grossed up to the employed labour force of approximately 1.7 million employees.
how many employees are low paid
How many employees are low paid?
  • Median hourly earnings €16.29
  • Low pay work as two thirds of median hourly earnings - €10.86 or less
    • 25% private sector workers (323,912) are low paid
  • JLC range - €8.23 to €9.68
who are jlc workers
Who are JLC workers?
  • Female
    • twice as likely
    • Account for 63% of JLC workers
  • Less educated
  • Part-time
    • 3 times more likely
  • Under 25 years of age
    • 3 times more likely
  • Non-Irish
    • Twice as likely
who are jlc workers1
Who are JLC workers?
  • Manual or routine service type work
    • 7 times more likely
  • Non-union
  • Low levels of employment service
    • 72% of workers less than 5 yrs
  • Work in the hotels/restaurant and whole/retail sectors
working time earnings
Working time & earnings
  • Workers who work no overtime and receive no shift allowance or bonuses more likely to be covered by JLC rates
  • Workers who get no shift allowance twice as likely to work shifts.
  • Evidence does not support the argument that extra payments such as Sunday premiums, shift allowance and over-time payments to workers covered by JLCs represent a major cost to employers in general.