SIPTU has called on employers in the hotel sector to engage in the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) process to ensure that low paid workers in the industry benefit from the increased profits they are generating. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Ed Kenny, said: “According to new figures released today (Wednesday, 30th August) the hotel sector is booming. A new independent survey by accountancy firm Crowe Horwath indicates that the average annual profit on each hotel room in Ireland grew from €11,990 in 2015 to €14,558 in 2016. This continues a massive upturn for the industry in recent years. “Despite the overwhelming evidence of a significant upturn, employers in the sector represented by the Irish Hotels Federation are continuing to defy Government policy and refuse to engage in the JLC process. In this process issues such as low pay, ‘if and when’ contracts and lack of hours for workers could all be dealt with by agreement between unions and employers. “The current situation means that although the sector across the country is clearly booming its workforce remains overwhelmingly low paid and in many cases exploited. Some studies indicate that up to 75% of workers in the sector earn less than €400 a week.” Kenny added: “The Government introduced a 9% VAT rate for this sector in 2011. This has ensured increased profits. Our members back the Congress position that such tax based incentives should be accompanied by social obligations. Accordingly, VAT rates in the hotel sector should be restored to their original level of 13.5% unless the employers enter into the JLC process and negotiate in good faith.”