We can all enjoy music but if you want someone to review a performance, you’d like to think that the reviewer has some practical musical training. Similarly, the media is wide open for anyone to give their opinions on business and finance but unfortunately, too often, those commentators have no practical knowledge of running a business.
‘A living wage’ – a loaded term
We were contemplating this as we read various commentators, journalist, politicians and trade unionists, suggesting that not alone was there room to increase the minimum wage but that in fact we could afford a ‘living wage’, a loaded term in its own right – implying as it does that you can’t live on a lower wage. For those of us who work in ‘down and dirty’ world of commerce these suggestions spell just one word – madness.
Tax avoiders cause business considerable embarrassment
There are a few very basic facts that commentators need to realise about being in business in Ireland. There are a small number of very large companies, major employers, who export to a world market. Some of these companies are the ones that pay little or no tax, something that causes the rest of the commercial world that pays its fair share of tax considerable embarrassment. Given their size, the markets and their ‘special tax status’ these companies, and their representative body, are happy to chatter away about the possibility of wage rises.
Meanwhile back in the real world there are the SMEs that we at ISME represent. With over 9,000 members, nobody knows this sector better than us. We are in daily conversations with them. We give them advice and support and they tell us what’s really going on in their sectors. They have no reason to give us the ‘poor mouth’ – in fact, for those who really know entrepreneurs, they are more likely to put the sunny side out – it’s part of entrepreneurial thinking that you believe tomorrow will be better. But there is one message that we get from our range of member enterprises – things remain tough.
Become music critics
For those businesses that have survived the recession, many of them are drowning in debt. That has got to be paid off before they become profitable again. Having little or no cash is holding back expansion (and the creation of new jobs) and therefore the idea that wage increases are possible or appropriate is total nonsense. If we believe in re-establishing social cohesion in this little country of ours, the focus must be on getting people back to work. Every time commentators claim that wages can be increased, they are damaging the chances of the 10.5% of the workforce that is unemployed getting back the dignity of a job.
It’s easy to give opinions. It’s considerably harder to give work. For those who don’t create work but who are happy to comment on it, maybe they should give their opinions on music instead?