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Sinn Féin lodge Agency Workers’ Council Motion in Every County

19 March, 2008

Sinn Féin TD and Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan today launched a Council Motion on Agency Workers that will be lodged in local authorities in every county in the state over the coming weeks. Deputy Morgan was joined by Louth Councillors Jim Loughran and Tomás Sharkey who controversially lodged a similar motion last month.

Deputy Morgan said: "As part of Sinn Féin's ongoing 'Equal Pay for Equal Work' Campaign party Councillors in every county throughout the state will be lodging a motion demanding government enacts legislation to protect Agency Workers and in addition that it end its blocking of the EU Temporary Agency Workers Directive. This will be supported by local media and leafleting drives.

"Last month Sinn Féin tabled a joint motion with the Labour party making the same demand. We have been working closing with the trade union movement on this issue and earlier this year Mitchell McLaughlin South Antrim MLA tabled a similar motion in the Assembly which was carried unanimously.

"Sinn Féin MEPs have also been sharply critical of the Irish government for blocking the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workers. The Directive was approved by MEPs in November 2002, but has been blocked at the Council of Employment Ministers for five years, primarily by Ireland and Britain.

"Increasing numbers of jobs are being filled by agency workers, with approximately 520 employment agencies in this state alone. Government failure to legislate for the principle of equal treatment of agency workers has resulted in employees denied their rights and entitlements such as sick pay, holiday pay, overtime and rates of pay equivalent to permanent staff.

"In addition this practice is resulting in the displacement of directly employed workers and the driving down of general wage levels in a range of sectors including the services, hotels and construction sectors affecting every county in Ireland.

"Sinn Féin is taking its demand of 'Equal Pay for Equal Work' to local authorities in every county in the state. Workers rights and a prosperous economy are key priorities for Sinn Féin. It is nonsense to suggest one comes at the cost of the other. Every state in Europe which ranks ahead of us in terms of competitiveness has such legislation in place.

"It is time for the Government to introduce domestic legislation, drop its opposition to the proposed EU Directive and to fulfil its obligation to protect hard won rights for all workers." CRÍOCH

Sinn Féin Agency Workers Local Authority Motion

This council notes the increase in agency workers throughout this state. We are aware that many workers from home and abroad are being redirected to agencies before they can find employment and that these agencies offer less money and fewer entitlements than the workers would receive if they were directly employed.

We understand that trade unions have raised concerns about agency workers being exploited by employers to undercut current wage and entitlement agreements. We acknowledge that 30 years of workers' rights legislation is under threat because of this practice.

We note that legislation is long overdue in this area and we call on the Houses of the Oireachtas to introduce legislation, based on the principle of equal treatment, as a matter of urgency. In addition we call on the government to support the introduction of the long promised EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workers.

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