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Absence of legislation leads to nightmare for employees – Stanley

1 May, 2012 - by Brian Stanley TD

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the environment, community and local government Brian Stanley TD has called on government parties to “end the nightmare that has become a reality for thousands of redundant workers by supporting Sinn Féin's Protection of Employees Bill.”

Speaking during this evening's debate on the Sinn Féin legislation Deputy Stanley said:

“I think it is timely that we are debating Sinn Féin’s Protection of Employees Bill on this day, International Workers’ Day. It is no coincidence that we chose today to introduce the Bill. Sinn Féin is very proud of our socialist politics and our history of supporting workers in struggle. We have never shied away from supporting workers who are struggling for justice anywhere in the world, be it Dunne’s strikers here in Dublin, striking dockers in Liverpool or Ford workers in Belfast. We are about providing solutions to the challenges that face workers in today’s climate of austerity.

“I want to commend Unite, MANDATE and SIPTU for their expressions of support for this Bill. The absence of this legislation has created a nightmare for thousands of workers who have faced redundancy in recent years. Many of these workers have been forced to take action to highlight their plight. This government must take action to uphold their rights.

“The purpose of this Bill is to enhance the rights of workers who are facing great difficulties in accessing their basic entitlements in the current climate. This Bill will lengthen the notification period in collective redundancies from 30 to 60 days where companies have 20 to 99 employees and from 30 to 90 days where companies have 100 plus employees. It puts in place a maximum period of 60 days after a worker applies to the Labour Court to have their case heard. It will also put in place a maximum period of 60 days after a determination of the Labour Court to have their entitlements paid out under the insolvency fund. This Bill will ensure that workers in companies that are insolvent in all but name are entitled to apply for payment under the insolvency fund after their company has ceased trading over 60 days.

“Today’s economic recession is being used by the current government and their allies in industry to introduce anti-worker practices. Minister Bruton is totally wrong in his attacks on this Bill.

“I am urging the government parties, in particular the Labour Party who receive much of their financial support from the trade unions, to support this Bill and strengthen the rights of workers who are faced with redundancy.”

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