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Morgan challenges employers’ groups on agency workers

30 April, 2008

Speaking at this morning's meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Sinn Féin Worker's Rights Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD challenged Chambers Ireland spokesperson Seán Murphy about comments he made on Morning Ireland this morning that there is no need for legislation to protect agency workers.

Deputy Morgan said, "The employers' bodies claim that evidence of the exploitation of agency workers is anecdotal and that all agency workers get a good deal. If this is the case - why are they resisting this legislation? - surely it will not change the status quo, only give agency workers what these groups claim they already have.

"Employers groups say that, if introduced, this legislation will result in a loss of jobs and an end to our competitiveness. This argument is blown out of the water by the fact that most other states in Europe have this legislation and remain more competitive than us.

"They say agencies give students and women an opportunity to be flexible in the market. But why can't students and women be employed directly as has traditionally been the case? Agencies changed that, but not for the better. Agency workers get paid less and have no entitlements. How can that better for students and women?

"Also, it is not just women and students being exploited - many construction workers are being redirected to agencies before they get work on a site.

"The employers are not accepting that in many sectors, there is a concentration of agency workers to keep pay low and ordinary workers can't get employed in those sectors because their pay would be higher. Agency workers are not temporary solutions any more - they are used by employers to depress wages and avoid entitlements." ENDS

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