Wage demands sabotaging job creation in SME sector.
Activation measures useless if unsustainable wage pressure continues.
At the release of the Live Register figures today (5th November), ISME, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the decrease but expressed concern at the increasing wage cost pressure being imposed on small and medium businesses, as a result of Government intervention. The Association warned that the wage pressures facing SMEs were stopping them from creating jobs.
The seasonally adjusted Live Register figure has decreased by 4,400, leaving 332,200 people signing on the dole. Long-term claimants still account for 46.6% of the total.
Commenting on the figures, ISME CEO, Mark Fielding said, “The list of actual and proposed labour cost increases lengthens the nearer we get to the election, with the National Minimum Wage, holiday sick pay, extended parental and paternity leave all adding to the cost of labour. Simply put, hiring additional staff in the current business environment is becoming unaffordable for SMEs”.
“SMEs are generally seeing a slight upturn in business but in most cases the benefits are being eroded by increasing costs. The minimum wage increase means it is often too expensive to fill entry level positions, while also fuelling unrealistic wage expectations across all wage levels, which most SMEs cannot afford.”
“We cannot be influenced by the cheerleading from election seeking politicians, who use multinational distorted GDP figures to bolster their ‘shaky feelgood factor’. The truth is that the indigenous SME is still struggling out of a disastrous recession and has a long way to go before we can start rewarding ourselves ‘2007 like’.
“The Government must put the well-being of the economy before its re-election ambitions, reduce costs, tackle welfare dependency and stop promoting unrealistic wage expectations. Political rhetoric advocating the absurd so-called ‘living wage’ must cease immediately, an uneconomic notion that fails to understand the realities of the labour market and the need for competitiveness.”concluded Fielding.