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Morgan slams government for migrant protection legislation opt out

27 September, 2007

Sinn Fein spokesperson on employment and workers rights' Arthur Morgan TD today expressed anger at the Government's decision to opt out of new EU legislation that will crack down on employers that hire illegal immigrants.

The Louth TD said;

"I wish to express my deep disappointment at the Government's decision to opt out of legislation that would introduce criminal penalties for employers found to have hired illegal workers.

"Government has chosen to opt out of this legislation as a direct result of lobbying by IBEC. Pandering to the wishes of IBEC members at the cost of migrant workers rights is unacceptable.

"The EU Directive in question would have forced the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to increase the number of labour inspections to 10% of all Irish companies.

"Despite Sinn Féin's repeated requests to significantly increase the Labour Inspectorate, the Minister has committed to increasing the amount of Labour Inspectors from 38 to a paltry 90 by the end of this year.

"Sinn Féin in its policy document 'Workers' Rights in an Ireland of Equals' called on the government to enable the statutory Advisory Body of the new Office of the Director for Employment Rights Compliance to determine the optimum number of inspectors necessary for the population.

"We also called on the Labour Inspectorate/s to meet the needs of a changing workforce through affirmative action ensuring a proportion of the inspectors are from migrant worker communities.

"Migrant workers are very often the victims of exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous employers who flout labour laws. Migrant workers are often paid below minimum wage and accepted industry rates.

"One only has to refer to the case of the South African workers earlier this year who were employed by Proseat to fit seatbelts in buses for far below industry rates.

"Taoiseach Ahern has often professed his commitment to workers rights and Ireland's immigrant community. I am calling on him to put his money where his mouth is and opt into this legislation." CRíOCH

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