"For the last number of years hotel owners have been running a well financed and very vicious campaign against the wages and conditions of workers in that industry" stated Malachy Steenson. "This is an industry that, both nationally and internationally, is notorious for appalling pay and conditions and blatant exploitation of workers, especially women workers and immigrants. The Hotels Federation has been to the forefront in attacking both the minimum wage and the existence of Joint Labour Committees (JLCs) and Registered Employment Agreements. Not less than two weeks ago they were jumping up and down with rage when the minimum wage was restored to its previous rate".
"The Hoteliers are very slow to come forward and explain what happened to the vast income which they made during the Celtic Tiger era. They are very slow to come forward and explain what has happened to all the grants and tax reliefs which they pocketed over the past twenty years. They take no responsibility for the present sorry state of the tourist industry and attempt to dump all the blame on one of the most exploited sections of the workforce".
"The true nature of the hoteliers of this country" continued Mr Steenson "was clearly demonstrated by their actions during the last week, and especially mid-week in the days surrounding the Europa Cup final. Hotel prices were pushed up between 200 - 300%. Drink prices were increased. Meal prices were increased. A great opportunity to showcase
Ireland before the European sporting was destroyed by the greed of the hotel industry. The attitude of hoteliers this week shows that the desire for the quick buck supersedes all else as far as the hotel industry is concerned. In this instance I would like to applaud Minister Michael Ring, TD, for his very forthright comments and his trenchant criticism of the opportunism of the hotel sector."
"Hotel and catering workers did not share in the property-fuelled boom of the early part of the last decade. Indeed they were victims of that boom as they were effectively priced out of the housing market. It is neither tenable nor tolerable that now these workers are being targeted by the industry owners to pay for the mistakes and greed of these very same owners" concluded Mr Steenson.