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Cullinane calls on government to honour commitments on workers’ rights

2 May, 2012

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the government to uphold the calls of the Seanad to extend the period of notice for workers to be made redundant, and to back the Sinn Féin Protection of Employees (Amendment) Bill.

Speaking on the Order of Business in the Seanad today, Senator Cullinane said that it appeared that the government was happy enough to say one thing in the Seanad, and another entirely in the Dáil.

“Last September the Seanad passed a Labour Party motion, supported by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, proposing that greater protections be put in place for employees facing collective redundancies; and that government review existing legislation to consider that a longer notice period than 30 days should be provided by a company, where the it is employing significant numbers of people and is making collective redundancies.

"There was a clear appetite for a change in the law. Sinn Féin has produced such a bill, however, now the government sees fit to disregard the position it took in the Seanad at that time."

"On the one hand, Senator Denis Landy argued that an extension in the notice period for workers to be made collectively redundant was necessary and that it would improve the situation many workers faced upon being made redundant. On the other, his party colleague Seán Sherlock argued yesterday that an increase in the notice period to 90 days is ‘unrealistic’, and that it would lead to a 'prolonged period of uncertainty for employees’."

"Likewise, while in the Seanad, Senator Marie Moloney criticised the inordinate delays which face applicants for entitlements under the insolvency fund, Deputy Sherlock yesterday stated that he believed that the relevent current legislative provisions ‘provide an adequate level of support for employees who find themselves in a situation where their employer has become insolvent'.”

"Clearly the government, and the Labour Party in particular, are talking out of both sides of their mouths, and putting forward different positions in each house.

Unite and Mandate have supported the Sinn Féin legislation on the basis that it enhances and improves worker’s rights. We have produced this legislation with much the same intentions as the Labour Party senators drafted their motion."
"I am calling on the government to listen to the views of their Senators, as enunciated by that vote, and to support the Sinn Féin legislation, which can bring some relief to workers potentially facing significant hardship".

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