A SIPTU delegation addressed the Low Pay Commission today (Wednesday, 8th February) to outline the reasons why their union is calling for a halt on any increase in the amount employers can deduct from workers’ pay for the cost of board and lodgings. The delegation included hospitality workers, SIPTU Organisers, SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Ethel Buckley and SIPTU Catering Sector President, Margaret Coffey. During the meeting at the Low Pay Commission offices in Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, the SIPTU delegation outlined the contents of its submission to the Low Pay Commission regarding Board and Lodgings. Margaret Coffey, said: “The overwhelming majority of workers who have deductions made from their wages for board do not receive appropriate meals. There is also no inspection programme of the lodgings provided by employers which result in a deduction from employees’ wages. A robust inspection and monitoring programme by state agencies is required in order to ensure that lodgings are safe and meet the needs of workers.” She added: “In reality the imposition of higher deductions for board and lodgings would be used by many employers in the sector to claw back the already insufficient minimum wage improvements to date.” Ethel Buckley said: “The issue of the provision of and deductions for board and lodgings has been and should remain a matter for social dialogue and collective bargaining by the representatives of employees and employers in a sector. Board and lodgings is a term and condition of employment addressed via social dialogue in most other EU and OECD countries.” She added: “There is no definition of what constitutes and does not constitute board and lodgings. Clear definitions need to be agreed. The best vehicle for setting forth definitions is an Employment Regulation Order (ERO). Unfortunately, the creation of such EROs for the hotel industry and the catering industry is being hampered by the refusal of employers in these sector to engage in sectoral or enterprise based collective bargaining on wages and conditions.” Currently employers can deduct €54.13 a week or €7.73 per day for full board and lodgings, €32.14 a week or €4.60 per day full board only and €21.85 or €3.14 per day for lodgings only.