Never let a good crisis go to waste was the maxim of Rahm Emanuel, Barak Obama’s chief strategist. Well it seems that the Irish fast food industry are as much West Wing fans as chicken wings when it comes to increasing their profits! Today in the Supreme Court some key players in the fast food industry are challenging the Joint Labour Agreements and other legislative protection for workers in the industry.
I’m gobsmacked that this highly profitable industry is trying it on . Average wage in the business is about €350 per week while NERA reckons nearly 4 in every 5 operators already ignore minimum wage and other employee protection. Despite the high rent paid by many chains such as Supermacs, Burger King and Eddie Rocketts profits in the business have never been better as fast food replaces a meal out for many trying to make less money last longer on a night out.
I have sympathy for anyone trying to stay in business at the moment. As Mayor I am conscious of the difficulties. I know that rent and rates are often cited as difficulties and I can understand that someone can have problems implementing legislation when costs can be out of control however this is not such a case. In fact the plaintiffs are concerned that the present legislation damages their property rights! It seems that property is more important to some people in Ireland.
I believe that others who are in the retail or food business are being done no service by the fast food industry and that it would be better if these business were told preferably by IBEC or that wonderful man in ISME who always seems to want a level playing pitch for small business that they should stop taking advantage of a collapse in consumer confidence elsewhere in business so as to maximise their sectoral profits.
Or could it be that there may be some who would like to see the protection of minimum wage and conditions eroded and have a sneaking regard for the fast food industry pulling a fast one on its workforce?