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Women have most to lose if Lisbon Treaty ratified – McDonald

17 September, 2009

Speaking at a Lisbon Treaty debate hosted by the National Women's council Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald said that women would be disproportionately affected by the downward pressure on wages that will result from the ratification of Lisbon.

McDonald said:

“Forty per cent of people who rejected the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 did so because of concerns over workers’ rights. Low paid workers are rightly concerned about the downward pressure on their wages. They are concerned with the anti-worker direction of both the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.

“The fact is that a large proportion of low paid workers are women and they will, without question, be disproportionately affected by the downward pressure on wages that would result from the ratification of Lisbon Treaty.

“The Lisbon Treaty, particularly through the Protocol on the Internal Market and Competition gives further strength to the Commission and Court in their drive to force down wages and conditions.

“Under the guise of making the EU the most competitive economy in the world they are pursuing a race to the bottom agenda in workers terms and conditions that is bad for individual employees and the economy overall.

“The government failed to act on the mandate which they were given to ensure workers rights were protected in the Lisbon Treaty. They failed to demand the inclusion of a social progress clause as was proposed by the trade unions.

“Women voters need to look at the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for themselves and their families. No one should feel forced by scare tactics or bribes, such as the claim by Fine Gael that they will legislate for the right to collective bargaining in exchange for a yes vote, to support a Treaty which fails on such a fundamental issue as workers’ rights.” ENDS

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