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Sinn Féin Response to SIPTU Lisbon Decision

30 May, 2008

Speaking following the announcement by SIPTU that it would recommend support for the Lisbon Treaty only if the Government promises to legislate for the right to collective bargaining, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers' Rights Arthur Morgan TD said that this was a recognition of fact that Charter of Rights does not deliver on collective bargaining. He said that the Government could meet the SIPTU demand by supporting a Sinn Féin bill published yesterday which seeks to enshrine the right to collective bargaining in the Constitution.

Deputy Morgan said:

"In the weeks leading up to this decision Sinn Féin engaged with the SIPTU leadership setting out in detail the reasons why the Lisbon Treaty represents a bad deal for workers. While I am disappointed that SIPTU have not recommended the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty their position of support is qualified. SIPTU have said they would recommend support for the Treaty if the Government promises to legislate to protect the right to collective bargaining.

"In our engagement with them SIPTU representatives were receptive to a number of our arguments including the fact that the Charter of Rights appended to the Lisbon treaty does not as some, including the Labour Party, have argued guarantee the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike. The fact that this right exists only where it is "in accordance with national laws and practices" means that this provision is meaningless if these rights are not protected in the Irish Constitution.

"Yesterday Sinn Féin published a bill which seeks to amend the Constitution to enshrine the right to collective bargaining and trade union recognition in the Constitution. The Government can meet the SIPTU demand on the right to collective bargaining by accepting this Bill, entitled the Twenty-ninth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, which Sinn Féin will be launching on Tuesday.

"Sinn Féin remains strongly of the view that this treaty is bad for workers and has serious implications for public services. On this basis we continue to argue that it should be rejected by trade unionists and have welcomed that fact that both UNITE and the TEEU have recommended rejection of the Treaty." ENDS

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