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Government writes in loop hole to undermine its own legislation and equality

2 February, 2012

The Oireachtas Select Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation today discussed the government’s proposed, Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill. At the committee Sinn Féin’s spokesperson Peadar Tóibín TD proposed a set of amendments that would close loops which could be exploited to maintain inequality and would undermine the legislation.

Speaking after the meeting Deputy Tóibín said:

“This legislation comes about due to an EU directive to ensure equality of pay and conditions between agency workers and permanent staff.

“In the past some employees have exploited agency staff as a low paid alternative to employing staff. This fails the employee and our economy.

“As drafted the legislation includes a loop hole that would allow for a new class of agency worker to be defined that would not be entitled to the safeguards in the directive. This is a disgrace and today I tabled an amendment to remove this clause and ensure that all agency staff will be treated equally.

“My amendment also sought to bring this legislation in line with best practice and equality legislation as this is something that the minister has failed to do.

“The minister states that he is seeking to strike a balance between equality and some employers’ desire to discriminate between two citizens to seek a competitive advantage. He is thus using inequality as a policy to create and support jobs which is unacceptable.

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