When an entrepreneur is asked whether they like competition they usually lie. That is they’re always quoted as saying ‘we welcome competition’. But of course they don’t. What most (we won’t speak for all enterprises) businesses would like to be is a monopoly; to produce a ‘must have’ product that they, and only they, could produce and that they could charge as much as they’d like and make as much money as they like.
But life isn’t like that. For most things, that is. In business there’s competition whether you’re a solicitor or a baker. That competition does keep you on your toes, providing a better service, and most importantly driving down the price. People buy the cheapest similar loaf of bread.
There’s one thing better though than being a monopoly and that’s being a State monopoly. And it was with genuine horror that ISME read this morning that workers at the State-owned energy monopoly, the ESB, are seeking pay rises of 3.5 per cent annually over three years. Even more bizarrely they’re looking to having the increase back-dated to the ending of an agreed pay freeze on March 31st, 2014.
ESB boss paid more than Barrack Obama
This is the same ESB that has the highest average wage in the public sector. The former ESB CEO had, post-crash, to exist on over €400,000 a year – the same package Barrack Obama gets paid. His remuneration package had reached a mind boggling €750,000 in 2009. Even now, following the greatest economic collapse in the history of the State the new ESB CEO has to scrape by on just €318,000. The official line is that he gets no perks. Except a company car. And cheap electricity. And… All of this breaks government guidelines of course – but sure aren’t government guidelines there to be broken?
Hello ESB wage rises, goodbye jobs
The unions say a deal was agreed in 2012. That deal included a voluntary redundancy programme and the extension of an existing pay freeze, which cut its wage bill by around €140 million annually. Voluntary redundancies? 250,000 people lost their jobs involuntarily during the crash and the high cost of energy was a major item that tipped many businesses over the edge. Thank you ESB. Thank you ESB unions for looking after yourselves and not your fellow workers. But then solidarity with fellow workers is not what unions are about – it’s not about Team Ireland, but about Team Self. But what can you expect when the (ESB) team management set the benchmark.
Energy is critical to every enterprise in this country. Keeping the cost of energy (currently amongst the highest in Europe) down is crucial. If you pay highly paid people more money there’s only one way to get it back – that’s to increase the cost of your product, in this case electricity.
Hello ESB wage rises, goodbye jobs.