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Irish workers deserve more than scraps from IBEC table

18 February, 2004

Speaking during the report and final stages of the Industrial Relations (miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2003, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Enterprise Arthur Morgan criticised the Social Partnership Process for failing to deliver any real improvements to the lives of the workers of the State.

Deputy Morgan said:

"As I have said in this house on previous occasions, this government is anti-union and it is no surprise that it is anti-union in that it is presided over by the man responsible for the introduction of the most vicious piece of anti-union legislation on the statute books - the Industrial Relations Act 1990 which was designed to crack down on Union activity. This Bill merely represents the scraps from the IBEC table thrown to workers during the most recent round of Social Partnership talks.

"The Government and employers' organisations are making workers bargain or more accurately beg for rights, which are justly theirs, as part of the wider social partnership deal. These are not concessions. Employer recognition of unions, compliance with labour legislation and the fulfilling of statutory redundancy rights are all basic workplace rights. These should not even be on the negotiating table. Legislation to enshrine Union recognition in law is long overdue and many will draw their own conclusions from the fact that Social Partnership has failed to deliver this most fundamental workers' right. This Government must do more to tackle low pay and ensure that workers in this State receive a living wage.

"This Bill should have been used as an opportunity to enshrine Union recognition in law. That it has not done so is profoundly unsatisfactory. This Bill makes no meaningful change to existing legislation." ENDS

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