Night economy workers must be prioritised

16 September 2021

Labour arts spokesperson Marie Sherlock has called on the Minister to outline her plans to ensure late night workers are looked after following the publication of the report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce. Any plan for the night economy must ensure that workers are paid fairly.

Senator Sherlock said:

“It’s really welcome to see a new and refreshed vision for Ireland’s night economy. Ireland’s club culture and night economy was dwindling long before the pandemic hit our shores resulting in further lost jobs, reduced earnings, disrupted learning, isolation, and restricted social lives. A refreshed approach to Ireland’s night economy was desperately needed. However, I’m disappointed that the Minister has made no reference to night workers in the proposals launched today.

“Central to a reimagined nightlife is secure, well-paid employment. The hospitality and entertainment sector were some of the worst hit during Covid, and young people were at the heart of this. Young people are overrepresented in insecure, low paid employment seen in the retail, hospitality, and food and drink sector that were deeply affected during pandemic. At the peak of Covid unemployment, we saw nearly 60% of young people aged 15-24 out of work. We are calling on the Minister to consider paying those working in the sector the living wage of €12.30 per hour at a minimum – including bar and restaurant staff, those working in the tourism sector, and those in cleaning and maintenance.

“The Labour Party will consider the detail of the Minister’s proposals over the coming weeks, but there has been a clear and obvious need for a new licensing system for some time now, something we have been calling on the Minister to consider for some time. Modernising the laws should included extended opening hours, but also staggered closing and a greater variety of options for cultural events. These changes should act as the first step in moving to harness the full potential of Ireland’s night life, including the introduction of 24-hour nightlife zones as has been done in by cities like Amsterdam and Berlin. As part of a reimagined night economy, we would like to see such 24-hour nightlife zones piloted in suitable locations in Ireland.

“This type of ambitious change is vital if we are to think of night-time economy as a cultural feature of our cities and towns as opposed to looking at it solely through the lens of a business or entertainment provision. Progress by Government in this area is welcome, but it should be part of a wider strategy on the night-time economy with people at the heart of the plan.”

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