JLC and wage rates

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Pictured: Ronald Kers of Valeo Foods Group (Photo by Dave Warren/Picture Team)

The CSNA advises retailers to proceed with caution regarding any change to work wage practices

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12 September 2011

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Minister for Enterprise Richard BrutonThe Minister for Enterprise has reacted swiftly to the recent High Court Constitutional case brought by the Quick-Food service against the Employment Regulation Orders.  NERA, the statutory agency charged with ensuring compliance, has advised employers that they were discontinuing investigations into non-payment of JLC rates, but were still pursuing cases for breaches that were “non-JLC” related.  The Minister has suggested that he will bring forward a Code of Practice for employers to deal with Sunday working conditions.  The Minister is still of the opinion that JLCs have a place in regulating employment for certain sectors of the economy, yet is content to allow the free market to operate in other competing sectors, subject to the National Minimum Wage Act.  The CSNA advises retailer members to proceed with caution on any change to work practices, and to seek the advice of the association.

Grocery Trade Code of Practice

The indications from the Department of Enterprise are that the Minister is preparing a Statutory Code of Practice aimed at curbing certain practices that some large grocery undertakings apply in their dealings with suppliers.

The CSNA has urged the Minister to extend the remit to include the right of all business and their representatives to complain against suppliers engaging in unfair practices, particularly in areas where they are trading with significant degrees of dominance, either within a sector or a product/service range.

If the Minister wishes to have a vibrant, competitive retail sector, it is important that independent retailers are not discriminated against by large dominant suppliers.

The grocery sector is not the sole culprit in potential abuses of dominance.  The State, local authorities, regulatory agencies, coupled with the banking, leasing, tobacco, news distribution and prepaid telephone products are all areas that have frequently been the subject of substantial complaints from retailers. The CSNA believes that the Minister should ensure that these complaints have a forum in which they can be acted upon.

City Guides invoicing scam

Every year, many unsuspecting retailers find themselves to be the unwelcome recipients of invoices and follow-up “Legal Department” letters from European City Guides demanding payment for entries they have made into online and printed fax/contact directories. This company, based in Valencia, Spain, has been the subject of formal censure by the European Parliament and was forced to discontinue its business in Switzerland and Madrid.

The scam is simple in its operating procedure. ECG send a letter to a business with a slight variation (name mis-spelt or address slightly incorrect) on the directory entry that is being proposed – it asks the owner to confirm the details as being correct for free entry, but buried within the reams of small print is a stipulation that the entry is subject to a €997 per year charge.

Once the business returns the amended details to ECG, an invoice is produced.  The CSNA has interceded on numerous occasions on behalf of members that have been the victims of this scam – be advised that you should never enter into any correspondence with this company – if you get a request to review an “entry” into a directory – BIN IT.

Despite heavy-hitting threats to pursue the “debt” through the courts, exhaustive enquiries by anti–ECG groups, including the European Commission have been unable to locate a single court case brought by ECG in pursuit of their monies, hardly surprising when the full details of their methods and history would then be presented to a judge by the defendant. 

 

 

 

 

 

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