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Have we learned nothing?

Have we learned nothing?

Monday 22nd December 2014

There are up to 450,000 of our citizens depending on the State for income, either through the dole or CES schemes, we are borrowing €6 billion to keep the country going and our Junior minister for business and employment, Ged Nash, tells us that 2015 will be the ‘year of the pay rise’, not just for the private sector but for the ‘hard pressed’ public sector also. (Irish Times, Martin Wall interview)

I wonder is there an election around the corner, I wonder which party is dying at the polls, I wonder have we time warped back to Celtic tiger madness.

Is there any sanity left in this Administration.

Even as Minister Nash speaks, the main cheerleader for the government, IBEC, tell us, in real Celtic tiger language, that we are in for ‘spectacular’ growth of almost Chinese proportions of 5.7%. This is the same IBEC who, not long ago, stoked the Celtic tiger fires, that would burn forever and when they eventually saw the writing on the wall, told us that we would have a ‘soft landing’.

The Dublin 4 outfit obviously haven’t been outside the M50 in years, dine at the tables of the multinationals and wouldn’t know a small or medium business if it bit them.

Both the junior minister and the big business lobbyists should take a trip ‘down the country’ where they will see many businesses, struggle to survive, waiting to be paid by big business and government agencies. SMEs attempting to secure finance from bailed-out banks in order to expand and compete with lower cost competitors in the export market. And you want us to pay more in wages!!

Minister Nash does go outside the M50 but he wears his labour-tinted glasses which factor out the reality of business that we have to, first break-even, then make a profit in order to reinvest and then consider wages. (Lesson here for Government)

Instead of stoking up unrest and uncertainty, it would be better for the Minister for Business and Employment to take a reality check and maybe a course in basic business to understand that business has to be able to pay its employees from what it earns, not from what someone thinks they should earn. The subtle difference is what keeps business going and avoids bankruptcy.

Please Minister remember, we in the SME sector cannot avail of Luxemburg wheezes and contract manufacturing shenanigans. We compete on real added value and not BEPS, transfer pricing or abuse of a dominant position. We pay the going rate for the job, benchmarked through competition, we then collect the tax for you and pay it over, so that you can promise pay increases to public servants while you borrow €6 billion.

So, if you want to have higher take-home pay, cut labour taxes, sort out the social welfare system and incentivise work but please, please stop this incessant cry for ‘more wages’.