Ireland should raise corporate tax rate…

September 9th, 2008 | by aobaoill |

At least that’s the message I take from the IBEC statement that “the current position whereby companies are not obliged to negotiate with unions was the only competitive advantage we have” (we being Ireland). For a long time we’ve been told that Ireland needs to have a low corporate tax rate, a very low one, in order to attract in-bound investment. Now we learn that the ability of employers to ignore the concerns of employees is in fact the ‘only’ competitive benefit Ireland has. If that’s the case, we should at least bring our corporate taxes up to the EU average, particularly in these times of falling tax returns.
In truth employers are using whatever arguments they can to shore up their opposition to union recognition. It should be noted that the employers who are opposing legislation to mandate recognition of unions are already engaged in the national partnership process, so sit down with unions already, but benefit from having few protections for union members in several ways:

  • The strength of unions in the broader economy is minimized, reducing their leverage in individual areas, including Partnership
  • The ability of unions to consider opting out of partnership, and resorting to local bargaining is reduced
  • Some IBEC members are part of Partnership, others are not, and so gain directly
  • Lower union protections outside Partnership lowers wages and working standards in those areas of the economy, which has an impact on the standards that can be pushed for within Partnership
  • Union energy and resources are sapped by constant fights for recognition and protection for members who face¬†belligerent¬†employers

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