Tullow Oil chief executive, Aidan Heavey, took home a total pay package of €25,962,983 last year.Average pay for a chief executive in an Irish-listed company was €936,000 in 2009. The average basic salary for the highest-paid director was €612,000 in 2009, more or less unchanged on 2008.

Employers get more aggressive during recessions. They prefer to sack when they want to cut jobs and redundancy is an expensive luxury in their warped little world. Even so, being sacked for the sake of a slice of cheese is taking it to a new level – and the Dutch courts would seem to agree, as they have forced McDonalds to pay a sacked worker over £3,660 as compensation for sacking her because she put a slice of cheese in a co-worker’s burger.

In late January Fianna Fail TD Charlie O’Connor turned up to ‘support’ an anti-cuts protest outside the Dáil. His local paper reported that “footage, which is available on Youtube, shows Deputy O’Connor arguing with protester Gregor Kerr from the Workers Solidarity Movement – a well-known anarchist organisation. Mr Kerr asked O’Connor why he does not vote against the cuts. O’Connor hits back by saying he will not vote against the government.”
With a neck like a jockey’s bollocks, O’Connor was protesting again a couple of weeks later. This time it was against sacking special needs assistants, another cut he voted for.

Mark Fielding, of the employers’ association ISME, admitted on Pat Kenny’s Frontline TV programme that the minimum wage is not enough to live on. However, he added, “it is not up to employers to pay over the going rate to provide a living income”. He wants the PAYE taxpayer to subsidise poverty wages through the Family Income Subsidy.

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