Monday, October 03, 2005

The Other side of the Rip-off

Now a days everyone claims about the Rip-off in Ireland. When they pay €9 to go to see the latest Hollywood blockbusters they walk to their cinema seat complaining about the price of the ticket and the price of their popcorn. They point out that the popcorn is worth about 10c to make. Also the spiralling price of the pint has fuelled many a drunken nights’ conversation. This is all true in many industries there is high mark-ups and massive profits are being made. But the reason for this is that the consumers are willing to accept this. Drink consumption in this country is increasing as is the price of drink. We accept these prices and thus they increase. But the other side of consumer power is also being seen now. Nearly everyone now is booking flights online. Check out which is the cheapest way to get to their destination. They check Ryanair, Easyjet, Aer Lingus and Central Wings amounts others to find the cheapest flight. This has lead to a downturn in the amount of people using Ferries. Not only is flying usually cheaper but also people nowadays consider Barcelona more interesting then Hollyhead. To combat this, the ferry companies must reduce their prices. With all modern companies their responsibility is to the shareholders. This is modern life the company director’s jobs depended on how the shareholders feel they have helped grow the company, increase the share price and give a nice health dividend. This is what happening in the case of Irish Ferries. Many people see the management as being money grabbing well paid people. They point out that the company is still in profit and therefore is not in need in the radical restructuring that is going through. But they like the workers are trying to save there jobs. True they are a lot better paid and will never struggle to get by like many of the workers will. But the workers in Irish Ferries will never struggle to get by like the workers in Eastern Europe who would gladly take their jobs for a smaller wage. Struggle is in some part in the persons’ mind. To some not having the latest Merc is struggling, to others not have enough for a family holiday is struggling and to others not having enough to eat is struggling. So the directors are going to do what they need to keep from struggling. They are going to change the company. So who are the shareholders that they are scared of? Well Irish pension funds are vastly invested in the company. So in effect it is us. We consider it a terrible tragedy that a company would be so callous in dealing with its loyal workers and call on the government to do something. We think that an Irish company flying a flag of convenience is akin to some sort of treason. We complain that we are in a race to the bottom. But are we willing to suffer a lost in the value of pension funds and also will to pay a higher price to get the boat to Wales. Another example of this can be seen with the fall in Irish Clothes factories and clothes shops and yet by clothes made in Bangladesh in H & M as they are cheaper then Irish clothes from Irish shops. We have to realise that if we want cheap prices. We have to be willing to realise that some of our neighbours will suffer for us to get what we define as value for money.

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