Press Centre

Low Wage Restaurant Workers Protest Wage Attacks at Restaurant Association of Ireland’s Gala Dinner

PRESS RELEASE: 9 July 2010

Visuals to include: Workers in chef uniforms leafleting restaurant owners and industry leaders in black-tie dress.

Wednesday, 9 June
Start: 6pm. End: 7:30pm
Burlington Hotel, Upper Leeson St, Dublin

The Restaurant Workers Action Group, established by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, is staging a protest on Wednesday, 9 June at the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s sold-out black tie gala awards dinner at the Burlington Hotel. The Restaurant Association of Ireland is calling for a reduction in the national minimum wage and an abolition of the Joint Labour Committee (JLC), the system that establishes wages and working conditions for catering and other industries.

The Restaurant Association of Ireland is lobbying the government to cut wages for some of the lowest-paid workers in the country.  If successful, the attacks it is urging would reduce wages by about 20% - a huge blow for workers earning less than €20,000 per year.  Many restaurant workers have had their income cut further because their hours have been reduced.  All workers have already seen their wages cut through measures like the pension levy.  “It is nothing less than shameful to attack the wages of those who are struggling the most,” says Siobhán O’Donoghue, Director of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland.

Protesting workers will offer a contrasting scene to the champagne and cocktail reception, five-course meal, and black tie glamour inside the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s 2010 Awards Dinner.  “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 Manohar Singh, a restaurant worker originally from India.

The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland is a national organisation working to promote justice, empowerment and equality for migrant workers and their families. Its Restaurant Workers Action Group works to improve conditions for restaurant workers across the country.