Trades unions’ astronomical wage demands must be stopped.
At the announcement of the monthly unemployment figures released by the CSO, today (30th August) ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association called on the Government to focus its attention on the rising cost of business, which is undermining job creation.The Association drew attention to the slowdown in job creation and the fact that Ireland’s economy is described as ‘high cost, rising slowly’ and our consumer prices remain over 20% above the euro area average.
The CSO figures confirm that 181,600 people are still signing on and the standardised unemployment rate is static at 8.3%. With the recent revisions in the figures the total unemployed is the same in August as it was five months ago in April.
Commenting on the figures ISME, CEO, Mark Fielding said “Jobs growth will be slow as long as costs increase. We have the third highest electricity prices in Europe, our excessive insurance costs are totally unjustified, increasing by 38% over the last year and our bank interest rates continue at more than the Eurozone average”.
“Economic uncertainty is increased by trade unions’ astronomical wage claims which government, the largest single employer, must defend. Wages are by far the largest percentage of business costs. Ireland’s wage profile is out of line with competitor countries and has been growing faster than the EU 28 in the last 2 years.”
“In addition the recent devaluation of sterling shows how vulnerable the economy is to external factors and once again demonstrates the need to drive productivity as a sustainable defence to a more challenging external environment. It is imperative that all costs are curtailed.”
The Association called on Government to:
· Stand firm on all public sector pay demands and any resultant industrial action.
· Reduce government influenced business costs to below the EU average.
· Target capital investment in job rich infrastructure.
· Encourage entrepreneurs through the tax system.
· Ensure real measurable access to credit for viable SMEs.
· Outsource more state sector services to SMEs.
· Reform the social welfare system to make it more profitable to work.
· Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black economy activity.
“At a time when we have negative inflation, low international interest rates and low oil prices our domestic business costs have continued to increase. If the priority of this Government is job creation, then it must assist rather than hinder the SMEs in the economy who can create jobs”, concluded Fielding.