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Public Demonstration at Irish Restaurant Awards Ceremony

PRESS RELEASE: 25 May 2011

Restaurant Workers Call on Restaurants Association of Ireland to Stop Attacks on Workers' Wages

Wednesday 25th May, 6:00pm

Outside Burlington Hotel, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4

Visuals to include workers dressed in chefs’ uniforms with placards and flyers

Members of the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum are holding a public demonstration at the Annual Irish Restaurant Awards, hosted by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), to call on the Association to stop its attack on workers' minimum wages and conditions.

Helen Lowry of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland says, 'The Restaurants Association of Ireland has continued to call for abolition of the Catering Employment Regulation Order which sets the minimum pay and conditions for restaurant workers.  The Catering ERO is one of a number of agreements established to provide protection to workers in sectors of the economy with a particular propensity for exploitation.

Protesting workers will offer a contrasting scene to the champagne and cocktail reception, five-course meal, and black tie glamour at the RAI’s 2011 awards.  "Restaurant owners have money for champagne and lavish events, but they don't have money to pay us? I don't know any restaurant workers who attend extravagant events like this," says chef Mijanur Rahman.

According to Pat Ward of SIPTU, “The restaurant industry is driving an attack on minimum wage rates and basic protections for workers, while lower-wage workers are struggling to survive. This is not about saving jobs – the government’s recent review of the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) mechanisms has shown that abolishing these minimum standards will not generate jobs.   The industry’s attack on wages for the lowest-paid  workers is shameful. Now, more than ever, we must ensure protections remain in place for those who need them most.”

The Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum believes that a successful industry is possible while providing fair and decent conditions for workers. They will be asking fellow chefs, workers and restaurant owners attending the awards event to support their call for fair and decent wages and conditions for restaurant workers.

ENDS

Note for Editors:

Background to the Restaurant and Catering Workers' Forum
The Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum was set up earlier this year by the Hotel Catering Arts Leisure and Entertainment branch of SIPTU, and the Restaurant Workers Action Group of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland. The Forum is committed to working together to protect working conditions and rates of pay for all restaurant and catering workers. We are fighting back against the consistent and aggressive attack on workers' wages by industry bodies such as the Restaurant Association of Ireland, and to ensure workers voices are heard