Zero hour contract workers abandoned by Fine Gael – Quinlivan
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today criticised Fine Gael for trying to block a Sinn Féin Bill that would bring an end to the use of zero hour contracts.
Deputy Quinlivan was speaking in a debate on the Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s Report on Sinn Féin’s Banded Hours Bill, which supports the progressing of the Bill and suggested amendments to it that would be accepted.
Speaking today Deputy Quinlivan said;
“There is a very simple agenda behind this proposed piece of legislation; to give workers more security about the hours they work, and the amount they will get paid as a result.
“It does not seek to give workers additional hours or more pay; it just aims to give employees an entitlement to know the hours they will be required to work, based on their usual work pattern. That is not too much to ask.
“It is incredibly unfair that currently some workers do not know how many hours they will receive from week to week, and so cannot budget for simple everyday expenses, or plan how many hours childcare they will need, or apply for a loan because they don’t know what their income will be.
“I am a member of the Business, Enterprise and Innovation Committee, which gave this Bill a great deal of scrutiny and debate over a number of months this year. Our Committee heard from a broad range of representatives from both sides. In fact we heard from 44 different individuals, from over 20 separate organisations over a 5 month period.
“After hearing all the arguments, I am in absolutely no doubt that the benefits this Bill would bring to workers, far out way the small inconvenience employers would face in giving workers contracts with hours that reflect the hours they work anyway.
“The Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, concluded that it is ‘fully supportive of the stated aim of the Bill and is of the opinion that employees’ contracts should reflect the hours they habitually work. This would allow workers increased security of income and allow them to better plan their lives and futures.’
“The Committee made a number of recommendations of changes to the Bill, to ensure it is constitutionally sound and fair. These amendments would be accepted by the Bill’s author Deputy David Cullinane.
“The government today are rejecting the report into this Bill, and as a result throwing months of work and scrutiny by the Oireachtas Committee back in our faces. They are belittling the legislative process.
“The Minister now says she wants to introduce a brand new piece of legislation, and apart from this being a total waste of time, it will be significantly weaker than this Bill, as it will exclude ‘casual workers’, which constitutes most employees affected, therefore resulting in a piece of ineffective, symbolic legislation that will be of no help to workers. “