Friday Stat Attack: Low-Pay in the Restaurant and Hotel Sector

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Every Friday I hope to feature a telling statistic – one that explains an issue simply and says more than a ream of posts ever could.  Here is the first Friday Stat Attack.

Employers, in particular the Restaurant Association of Ireland, are at it again – spreading misinformation and degrading the debate.  Here is just one recent example:

‘The [RAI] claimed that Irish restaurateurs pay the highest wages in Europe and the highest excise duty on wines in Europe, while Irish food costs are 18pc above the European average.’

Whatever about the latter, the claim about ‘the highest wages in Europe’ is simply wrong, wrong, wrong.  And the RAI knows it.  Here is what Eurostat has to say about the issue.


Ireland is among the lowest of the low.  Irish wages and/or employers’ social insurance in this sector (of which restaurant workers make up two-thirds) would have to rise by 23 percent to reach the average of other EU-15 countries.  They would have to rise by an amazing 44 percent to reach the average of our peer group – other small open economies (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Sweden).

And in the absence of Joint Labour Committees, wages have been driven down towards the minimum wage since these figures were compiled.

Restaurateurs here pay some of the lowest wages in the EU-15.  Full stop.

Have an important weekend.


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