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Small business groups launch campaign on labour costs

ISME, the small and medium enterprise association, and a number of other trade organisations have launched a major nationwide campaign to address rising labour costs.

The groups are also calling for greater representation for small businesses on the Labour Employer Economic Forum and the Low Pay Commission.

As part of the campaign, the organisations say they want a permanent nine per cent Vat rate for the food service, entertainment, experiential and grooming sectors.

The campaign slogan is “Save Jobs – Sign the Pledge” with the groups calling for wider support on reform of the national minimum wage, tax reform and industrial relations reform.

On the calculation of the minimum wage, ISME said small businesses cannot afford to be benchmarked against higher wages in large firms and the public sector.

“It is ridiculous to benchmark SME pay against public sector pay in Ireland,” said Neil McDonnell, CEO, ISME.

“Average public sector pay significantly exceeds that in the private sector – even in multinational companies.”

“The gap between public and private sector pay in Ireland is bigger in Ireland than in any EU countries other than Portugal, Spain and Italy, where private sector pay is far lower,” Mr McDonnell said.

A new website, has been launched as part of the campaign.

Among the organisations who have signed up with ISME are the Irish Hairdressers Federation; Restaurants Association of Ireland; Irish Hardware Association; Nursing Homes Ireland; Retail Excellence Ireland; Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation; Vintners’ Federation of Ireland; and Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association.

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