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Government support for JLC Bill welcome – Sinn Féin

7 October, 2011

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Peadar Tóibín has welcomed the government's support for the party’s Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2011.

Speaking after today's Dail debate, Deputy Tóibín said:

"This Bill aims to give legislative structure to the Joint Labour Committees and to offer protection to some of society’s most vulnerable workers.

“The workers protected by these JLCs have been left exposed to exploitation since July when the High Court ruled that they were unconstitutional. In the absence of government action Sinn Féin tabled today's bill. This was the result of months of work with trade unions and campaign groups bringing maximum pressure to bear on Labour and Fine Gael.

“We welcome the government rowing in behind the Sinn Féin bill. This is a positive step.

“It is as the Minister said, an imperfect bill. It is not yet water-tight. We need to legislate to deal with excessive delegation of power. We need to look at setting principals out in legislation to guide JLCs. We need to look at the issue of criminal sanction and the inability to pay clause. There is nothing in what the Minister said that cannot be solved and amended at committee stage.

“Up until now we have had bucket loads of sympathy for the people affected. We have had promises that legislation would be brought about. But we have had no positive action by the government that will make a shred of difference to a family on low wages.

“Political inertia won’t feed or cloth young children. Now is the time to act. The government must facilitate the Bill passing through the final stages as a matter of urgency. The 200,000 workers at risk since the court ruling can no longer wait to have their rights upheld.”

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