The National Competitiveness Council is calling this morning for determined effort from Government, enterprise and trade unions to ensure wage levels do not outstrip growth in productivity. The NCC is publishing its report ahead of a meeting of the Oireachtas Business, Enterprise and Innovation committee which is to discuss the cost of doing business in Ireland.
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, is one of those due to appear before the committee this afternoon. Adrian Cummins said the cost of doing business here - insurance costs, the local authority rates and stealth taxes - as well as the skills shortage in the sector will be raised at the committee meeting.
Mr Cummins said the Restaurants Association has been talking about the skills shortage issue since 2012, adding that nothing major has been done to deal with the issue since then. He said the country needs one organisation to deal with training for the hospitality sector, in the same way as Teagasc deals with farming. 5,000 chefs are needed for the industry, according to Mr Cummins, while 28,000 staff are needed over the coming months to sustain a working industry. Over the last six years, a total of 50,000 jobs have been created in the industry, he added. Citing a skills deficiency, he said there is no plan to make sure there is enough trained people to start work in the hospitality sector.
On the issue of housing, Mr Cummins said that hospitality staff are reporting difficulties in finding affordable accommodation, particularly in Dublin and major urban areas. He said the Construction Industry Federation is also attending today's committee meeting and he will be anxious to hear the federation's plans to ease these worries.
MORNING BRIEFS - Pluralsight, a provider of online courses on software development and other in-demand IT skills, is to invest €40m on a new Dublin-based headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Pluralsight said it plans to hire 150 people in Dublin over the next three years in areas such as sales, marketing, finance and customer support.
*** Apple is buying the music recognition app Shazam. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is reported Apple paid up to $400m for the London-based company. Shazam has 120 million active users and says the app is used up to 20 million times a day. Shazam recognises music playing within a user's environment, on a nearby radio for example, and identifies the track.
*** Two financial regulators in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, have warned investors about the risks associated with speculating on the value of cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin made its Wall Street debut. The CFTC, responsible for futures trading, cautioned investors about the "potentially high level of volatility and risk". Bitcoin futures, contracts linked to the underlying digital currency, have been trading on Wall Street for 24 hours now. The contract surged by more than 22%, then fall back sharply but was still trading 13% above its initial price.