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Cautious welcome for agency workers’ bill from Sinn Féin

11 January, 2012

Speaking in the Dáil tonight on the Protection of Employees (Agency Workers) Bill, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on jobs and enterprise, Peadar Toibín TD, said that it was “a step in the right direction in safeguarding the rights of workers”, but warned against targeting low-paid workers in an attempt to maintain competitiveness.
Deputy Toibín added:
“This Bill represents an important step for agency workers by guaranteeing equal treatment, in terms of pay and basic working conditions, with directly recruited workers’
“At the time of unveiling the legislation, the minister said that it was designed to minimize the impact on competitiveness in the economy and to keep employment costs to a minimum.
“I always find it interesting that when some ministers look at the issue of competitiveness they seek only ways to drive down the wages of low paid workers. There is never criticism of excessive senior salaries.
“My welcome for this legislation is tempered somewhat by a need for clarity on a number of issues in the legislation. I believe also that there will be a need for amendments that will close down potential loopholes that would allow employers to treat workers unequally.
“I hope that the Minister will not take a negative approach and will include entitlements to sick pay, occupational pension schemes, benefit in kind, financial participation payments and bonus payments,” he said.

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