Eason Staff Facing 12.5% Pay Cut

It’s not too often on these pages that I delve deeply into the moral economics of the book business. Today, I will make a rare exception. Sometimes, you need to make exceptions. Eason, the flagship Irish book and magazine retailer is reported to be considering a 12.5% pay cut on its employees. Eason employs 1500 staff, and their Union, SIPTU, held a meeting today with the company’s management at the Labour Relations Commission in an effort to resolve the matter. Unfortunately, common sense and human decency were left at the door this morning and no agreement was reached. The matter will now go forward to the Irish Labour Court in the next few weeks.
This dispute dates back to August of this year, and when Eason says all staff, one wonders in these types of proposed pay cuts if it includes newly appointed Eason boss, Conor Whelan. The fact is Irish workers have already endured their share of cuts and price rises in the last Government Budget this year, including an added 1% tax levy on income, and a further financial budget due from the Government in the coming weeks, anticipated to one of the severest in many years. While US and the stronger EU economies like France and Germany are showing signs of stability and even very marginal growth in some areas, the Irish economy has shown less signs of any immediate recovery in early 2010.
Any company, be it retail, publishing or any sector of industry is free to consider pay cuts at management level as an option on staving off the possibility of out and out job losses, but to suggest a 12.5% pay cut to its employees is bordering on disgusting and immoral.
Shame on you Eason.

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