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O’Brien challenges Sherlock on delays to workers’ rights legislation

23 January, 2014 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Jonathan O’Brien has challenged Labour Minister Sean Sherlock on delays to promised workplace relations legislation.

The TD for Cork North-Central called on the Government to outline the new timetable for the introduction of the legislation.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy O’Brien said:

“The government produced a consultation document on Workplace Relations legislation in March 2012.

“At the time the Minister committed to have the legislation published and enacted by the third quarter of 2012. The promise of legislation has been made in each of the government’s legislative programmes and thus far has failed to be presented.

“The government also promised and failed to publish legislation on the right to collective bargaining. It is clear from this that the rights of workers, the very people who produce wealth, are not a priority for this government.

“This Department has also enacted legislation to end Sunday Premiums for low paid workers, rushed through elements of the Companies Bill, and reduced protections for agency workers.

“There is now growing evidence to suggest increased casualization of the labour market and reduced weekly earnings, especially for those in temporary and low-skilled occupations.

“Economic recovery should not be premised on the weakening of workers’ rights and low pay.

“Genuine economic recovery must be built on decent pay and supported by robust industrial rights architecture.

“It must be in the interest of all, not a select and powerful few.”

Speaking following the exchange, Deputy O’Brien said:

“Minister Sherlock conceded that the issues I raised represented valid criticisms of how the government has mishandled this process. There is a glaring absence of meaningful progress around this urgently needed legislation. The Minister and his department must stop making promises and offering watery explanations.

They must go about the real work of introducing the legislation as a priority.”

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