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Government Policy Failing Agency Workers - Morgan

11 February, 2008


Sinn Féin TD and Labour Affairs Spokesperson Arthur Morgan will today meet with Agency Workers in Waterford ahead of tonight's SIPTU public meeting calling for an End to the Exploitation of Agency Workers.

Deputy Morgan said:

"Over the last number of months Sinn Féin has been campaigning in the Dáil, the Assembly and in Europe for the equal rights of agency workers who currently have little or no job security, access to sick pay, pension entitlements or to other non-pay benefits.

"To the government's shame Ireland is one of the few EU member states countries which has failed to legislate for the equal treatment of agency workers. Their rationale that giving such rights will harm the economy's competitiveness is absurd, as every state in Europe which ranks ahead of Ireland in competitive terms has such legislation in place. The government also continues to block attempts by the EU to progress an EU Agency Workers Directive.

"Sinn Féin fully supports SIPTU and the Trade Union Movement in its efforts to secure the right to equal treatment for agency workers. We have been to the fore in fighting to ensure this issue stays on the political agenda until proper legislation is in place.

"I have held the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin and the Taoiseach to account in the Dáil for failing to protect agency workers. We have regularly sought to have the business of the Dail adjourned so as to give adequate time to debate the issue. Last month Sinn Féin tabled a motion in the Assembly demanding the equal protection of agency workers which was supported unanimously by all parties. Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald is also pursuing the issue in the European Parliament.

"I will be meeting with Agency Workers throughout the country over the coming weeks to discuss the problems they face because of government inequality. These workers must be given equal pay and conditions from of commencement of employment. We will accept nothing less." ENDs

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