SCRAP THE MINIMUM WAGE, SAYS SUPERQUINN FOUNDER - The minimum wage should be scrapped to allow people to work for whatever they can get, the founder of Superquinn has argued. Senator Feargal Quinn said he believed the current rate of €8.65 per hour, which is among the highest in the EU, is a hindrance to employment as it can deter firms from taking on staff. Mr Quinn pointed to Germany, which has no national minimum wage, and said its unemployment level is very low. "I've always argued that a number of jobs don't exist at certain wages, so we would have far more people working and willing to work if they were able to be paid a lower amount than the minimum amount," he said. The Iris Independent says that some 20 countries in the EU have a national statutory minimum wage, with gross monthly totals ranging from €157 in Romania to €1,874 in Luxembourg. Ireland is fourth on the list at €1,462. The German economic model has been cited as an example to countries looking to cut unemployment and boost competitiveness. But without a national minimum wage barrier, pay can reportedly go well below €1 per hour, especially in the former communist eastern states. Mr Quinn, who admitted his view was not a popular one, said that if the minimum wage was reduced, jobs would be created.
€4.5m FOR O'CONNELL STREET BLOCK - The half-empty Findlater House on O’Connell Street in Dublin 1 is to be offered for sale at a knockdown price on behalf of NAMA, writes the Irish Times. Keith O’Neill of agents BNP Paribas Real Estate is quoting in excess of €4.5 million for the dated building which was bought by Garret Kelleher ’s Shelbourne Developments in 2005 for slightly over €30 million. Funding was provided by the former Anglo Irish Bank. Kelleher is best known for his promotion of an ill-fated 150-storey residential spire in Chicago, planned as the highest of its kind in the world but was quickly abandoned when the property market took a dive. The six-storey over basement Findlater House beside the Gresham Hotel dates from the 1970s and despite its central location has been difficult to let since Eircom moved out of it some years ago. Less than half the floor space is currently occupied and two of the three tenants are due to move out next December and in August, 2014. The ground floor retail area extends to 1,109sq m (11,941sq ft), while the overhead offices have a floor area of 4,231 sq m (45,542 sq ft). Much of the ground floor was upgraded some years ago with the help of award-winning architect Tom dePaor and is still occupied by a State-sponsored company Irish Aid. The OPW is currently paying a rent of €150,000 under a lease due to end next December.
COURT RECOMMENDS PHASED 6% PAY RISE AT BAUSCH & LOMB - The Labour Court has recommended that global eyehealth company Bausch & Lomb award its 900 Siptu workers a phased 6% pay increase, says the Irish Examiner. The US multinational employs 1,100 at its Waterford base, and the Labour Court has recommended that the payment of the 6% through three separate pay increases be made on condition of co-operation from the workforce on normal ongoing change at the plant. Siptu sectoral organiser for the pharma-medical device chemical sector, Alan O’Leary, said yesterday that its members at the plant are to be balloted on the recommendation with the outcome expected to be known by the end of this week. He said: “We are recommending to workers that they accept the Labour Court recommendation. We believe that the pay increase is justified. It will assist the workers’ income. We are very pleased with the outcome of the Labour Court.” Mr O’Leary said a pay freeze at the plant has been in place since 2010. He said Siptu members at the plant had a meeting on Monday to discuss the recommendation “and the mood of the meeting was very upbeat”.
UK WATCHDOG WARNING ON WEALTH MANAGERS - Wealth managers are not living up to the levels of service customers should expect and bank compliance departments are not spotting the problems as they arise, the UK’s top watchdog has warned. The Financial Times says that some wealth managers are failing to gather data about the level of risk their clients want; others are ignoring client preferences on risk and the kinds of industries they want to invest in. This is according to Martin Wheatley, who will head the Financial Conduct Authority when it takes over supervision of wealth managers next month. ''There are wealth managers in the industry who can’t hold their hands up and genuinely claim to be providing a great service to their customers,” Mr Wheatley told an audience at the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment. While behaviour and training has improved since regulators began looking at the issue in 2010, “it only takes a small number of unprofessional operators in a professional operation to damage credibility,” he said.