Speaking tonight on the Critical Utilities Bill 2013 which would criminalise workers who engage in strike action Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers Rights, Senator David Cullinane said:
“I find this legislation abhorrent and let’s make no mistake about it; Senator Quinn’s Bill is all about fines, indictments, and prison terms, in other words criminalisation.
“It states quite clearly it would be an offence for a person to engage in industrial action, or to induce an employee of a critical utility to cause an interruption to supply.
“In the Bill the punishment for such action ranges from 12 months imprisonment and a fine of €250,000, or five years imprisonment and a €50,000 fine.
“Such right wing Thatcherite, anti-labour policies would not be out of place in Britain of the 1970s and 80s.
“Back then the plan was to crush unions and demoralize workers. The Critical Utilities Bill 2013 is a replica of the anti-union legislation passed at the time.
“But this is not Thatcher’s Britain and it certainly is not the 1970s. It’s Dublin in 2013 and exactly one hundred years after the Great Lockout.
“We are currently witnessing a dramatic increase in part-time, low paid, insecure contract type of employment. The simple fact is that workers cannot afford to go on strike. But like their comrades back in 1913 they are sometimes willing to sacrifice things in order to secure their rights.
“This is called protecting and defending your rights and the rights of your fellow workers. It is also called solidarity or acting in unison.
“The right to strike is recognised in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
“It is two weeks before Christmas and this Scrooge like piece of legislation is anti-worker and anti-union.” ENDS