Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Forgotten Employed


The article in the Irish Times today quotes Taoiseach Brian Cowen

"Prices are falling at the fastest rate in 75 years. The latest inflation figures published on Thursday show that prices fell by 6.6 per cent in last 12 months. This means that the real value of take-home pay and welfare payments has increased by that amount in the last year,"

He goes on to say that the hardest hit are the unemployed... which is true, of course. I have huge sympathy for those who have found themselves unemployed at a time when there is so little employment to be had.

But what he, and so many others miss is that they are not the only ones impacted. Thousands have taken pay cuts, either through deliberate pay cuts or because they are self-employed or they make commission or tips as a primary part of their income.

I work on a basic that is lower than minimum wage and commission. Looking at my payslips, I took about a twenty percent pay cut this year, just in lack of commission and volume bonuses (this wasn't much anyway... I've never made the average industrial wage).

There were no big stories about pay cuts in my company. We didn't have any negotiations. Nobody lowered our bonus target levels. The company just happily ticked on by as the staff suddenly struggled to pay for the basics of life.

Those higher up are more cushioned, with higher basic wages and a smaller part of their income which is dependent on performance. For those of us at the bottom, we have nothing but the hopes that Christmas will bring more than peace and goodwill, but a small amount of money to pay those bills.

I'm told often I'm lucky to still have my job. It'd be nice to feel that way when payday arrives.

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