Ibec calls for wage control

Ibec has warned that, while company sentiment towards rising pay is improving, “highly inflated” public sector pay claims are “at odds” with Ireland’s current economic reality and “what is reasonably affordable”.
Ibec calls for wage control

Ahead of its HR Leadership Summit in Croke Park today, the employers’ representative body said while most companies are in a position to award modest pay rises, not all are growing at the same rate and that needs to be reflected in wage expectations.

“We’re heading firmly in the right direction, and unemployment is likely to fall below 8% this year. It’s crucial we stay on this positive path and don’t jeopardise these very real and important successes,” said Ibec’s director of employer relations Maeve McElwee, yesterday.

A survey conducted for today’s event found 71% of companies — up from 64% this year — plan to award pay rises next year and the total wage bill will increase among 68% of firms — 4% more than this year.

However, despite record low inflation allowing for strong overall wage growth, Ibec warned many firms still cannot afford pay rises.

Larger firms, particularly those in high-tech sectors, are most likely to up pay levels.

“Most workers will again see positive economic trends reflected in their pay packets next year, but we must not lose the hard-fought competitive gains of recent years. The focus must remain on job creation, especially given the uncertainty that Brexit and currency pressures present.

“Next year, 42% of companies plan to increase staff numbers, but if costs spiral and we lose our competitive edge, we will pay for it in jobs,” Ms McElwee added.

Meanwhile, a new report by DKM Economic Consultants, commissioned by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), estimated building activity could, potentially, generate a requirement for 112,000 jobs up to 2020.

“The industry is concerned that, as activity ramps up quickly, there will be a lag in the necessary skilled workers in the labour market and amongst those coming out of full-time education and training to meet the demand over the medium-term,” said DKM director Annette Hughes.

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