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Legislation to protect agency workers will not affect labour flexibility – Morgan

17 April, 2008


Sinn Féin Enterprise and Workers' Rights Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has refuted claims from IBEC that legislation to protect agency workers from exploitation will affect the flexibility of the Irish Labour market. Deputy Morgan said today that Irish workers are recognised throughout Europe as being flexible and said IBEC are trying to move the issue from one of exploitation to one of labour flexibility.

Deputy Morgan said today, "In trying to oppose legislation to protect agency workers from exploitation IBEC have attempted to move the issue from one of exploitation to one of labour flexibility. The Irish labour force is recognised throughout Europe as being flexible and legislation to protect agency workers from exploitation will not affect that.

"The fact is that agency workers do not enjoy the same rights and entitlements as those in direct employment and more and more employers are taking advantage of that. Agency workers are denied equivalence in rates of pay, holiday entitlements, sick pay and pensions and so unscrupulous employers are taking on more and more of these workers in order to avoid paying these entitlements to directly paid workers.

"There can be no denying that this amounts to the exploitation of agency workers. However it is also driving down the terms and conditions of directly employed workers as more and more employer opt for agency workers.

"Legislation is urgently required to protect agency workers and end the practice of exploitation. The argument that such legislation will affect our flexibility in the labour market and our competitiveness is untenable. Every state in Europe which ranks ahead of us in competition already has such legislation." ENDS

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