Date Released: 06 January 2015
SIPTU has called on the Government to take action to end upward only rent reviews which are negatively impacting on workers' wages and employment in the hospitality and catering sector.
SIPTU Services Division Organiser, John King, said: “The hospitality and catering sector is experiencing unprecedented growth. This growth is being partly fueled by tourist numbers and spending, with 2014 seeing these return to levels only experienced prior to the recession.
“However, ever increasing rents are adversely impacting on many workplaces in the services sector. As witnessed in the case of the announcement of job losses at the Bewley's Café in Grafton Street, Dublin, upward only rent reviews in some circumstances are actually contributing to job losses. Rather than increased productivity resulting in wage and job growth, growing revenues are being siphoned off by property owners at the expense of the wider economy”.
John King said that SIPTU had over 20 members employed by Bewley’s across the country. However, workers in the company did not have the benefit of a collective bargaining agreement.
He said: “The workers who face losing their jobs due to the decision to implement redundancies at Bewley’s cafe in Grafton Street are not only the victims of the system of upward only rent reviews but also the lack of legislation to protect collective bargaining.
“While recognising that the Government has been making progress in this area, action must be taken as speedily as possible to protect the right to collective bargaining and so help ensure workers benefit fairly from the economic recovery they have built.”
Bewley’s had fought an unsuccessful legal battle with its landlord, Ickendeal Ltd, which is controlled by property developer Johnny Ronan, to have its €1.5 million annual rent reduced to €728,000, as suggested by a third-party arbitrator in January 2012.