President Anthony Gray – August Update

I hope the season is going really well. Tourist numbers are up and I do hope they are eating out and keeping your establishments busy this summer despite the bad weather. Furthermore, what a sight it was to see four cruise ships end to end at Dublin Port and even better news to hear the cruise business is now firmly on track for a record year in 2015  this brings a welcome boost to the so called Irish summer!

On a slightly different note we have had a really busy month with two major issues dominating our industry. We have met these head on and our voices have certainly been heard regarding our feelings on these issues that affect all our livelihoods. The first issue that we dealt with is the proposed minimum wage increase. This will result in a staggering increase in my wage bill and indeed yours each year; for me its  34 Employees = €30 extra per week  that’s  a staggering  €53,040 per year and that’s if all my employees were on minimum wage and obviously they’re not so where do the government think I,or we can recoup this? I will welcome a reduction in PRSI or the Universal Social Charge & I believe the government must understand that this is the way forward before any minimum wage increase.  If they decide not to well then they will just draw a  red line through job creation, expansion and competitiveness. Please god let common sense prevail but let’s watch this space.

As regards the second issue of chef shortage, the new apprenticeship proposals are a stepping stone in tackling the crisis but the re-establishment of CERT is the only solution.  We state that the main skills shortages are among suitably qualified chefs.  Shortages of commis chefs feed into shortages at higher and specialist levels.  Among the applicants submitted for chef positions, many are deemed not to be appropriately qualified.  This reflects the fact that there is not enough chef training centres.  Currently 1800 chefs qualify each year from certified culinary training programmes.  There is an immediate deficit of 5000 chef trainees annually. So therefore the chef shortage in this country is an ongoing problem and needs to be addressed.

The next items on the calendar are the Road Shows which start in mid-September.  Please stick these dates in your diary as they are well worth attending.  We hope to have them packed with all sorts of helpful hints, marketing suggestions and cost-saving initiatives.   These Road shows are free of charge but their success depends largely on your attendance.

Finally, I would just like to say I look forward to meeting and discussing the local issues with as many of you as possible at these events.

Slán go foillín,

Anthony Gray


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