The mushroom sector is no stranger to the problems encountered by workers in the realm of pay and conditions.
Minimum wages were designed as a way to try and legally protect workers from gross exploitation, however the level at which the minimum wage has been set over the years has caused consternation with both employees and employers.
Now in the Republic, the waters are due to be muddied even further with the introduction of a new ‘inability to pay’ clause. Siptu has strongly criticised proposals to introduce ‘an inability to pay’ clause which would permit employers to seek an exemption from having to pay minimum pay levels in certain sectors which are set down under Employment Rights Orders.
The union said that the Government’s planned changes to rights orders – which cover pay and conditions in sectors such as agriculture, catering, contract cleaning, hairdressing, hotels, retailing and security – formed part of an overall objective to undermine regulations ensuring workers on the lowest pay rates received a living income.
Things have come a long way from the cry of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. On a human level we probably all agree on workers getting paid fairly, but then of course the business spirit aches for profit, thus undermining the basic human feeling.
Stalker reckons workers and businesses both need protection from bad legislation.
But how to achieve the balance is the tricky part.