Greg Gormley (third from left) with staff on the opening night of Russell’s in April
A local publican has hit out at the government’s decision to increase the minimum wage by 50 cent from September.
Greg Gormley, who runs the Castle Bar in Seatown and Russell’s in Park Street, told The Sunday Business Post yesterday that the timing of the increase was all wrong, pointing out that day time trade in the business was still more or less non-existent.
“There is growth in Dundalk, but it’s no where near the growth in cities like Dublin, Cork and Galway.
“Rural pubs that survived the recession are coming back at a much slower pace. When you pay out more, you have to cut somewhere else and that somewhere else is likely to be staff hours.
“If I pay minimum wage to a part-time staff member of €8.65 for 37 hours a week that works out at €320.05. The proposed 50 cent increase would put the same single wage up to €338.55 a week.
“If I have three part-time staff on the new, higher wage, it would be an increase of €2,886 a year on those wages. Paying three part-time staff that extra wage is the equivalent of paying another member 8.5 extra weeks a year, which would cover busier periods over Easter, Christmas and during the summer. That’s a seasonal job for someone.”
Gormley, who is chairman of the Louth Branch of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, said the likes of commercial rates, utility rates, bin charges and bank charges were also putting more pressure on small businesses that are still struggling.
“If I put a 6% increase on the price of drink in my pubs, my customers would vote with their feet and go elsewhere.
“I’ve had the same staff at the Castle Bar since I opened. If they’ve ever been short of something, I’ve always looked after them.
“Certainly, when business improves we can factor minimum wage increases in but the timing of this is totally wrong. I think staff talking about the increase amongst themselves will say ‘if someone will pay €9.15 an hour, why not just make it €10’, and that will put even more pressure on employers.
“I see it as a disaster,” he said.