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Government study on the impact of zero & low hour contracts is overdue- Lynn Boylan

18 November, 2014 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has acknowledged the study on zero hour contracts commissioned by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and is urging the Minister not the limit its scope and to use all the information collated to improve the lives of low paid workers.

Speaking today on the issue, Lynn Boylan said

“Sinn Féin believe that decent pay and decent jobs are fundamental rights. Unfortunately the use of zero hour contracts has more than doubled in the past ten years. Since the recession and the subsequent years of austerity there is a significance increase in the number of people who are underemployed. In fact according to recent media reports Ireland currently has one of the highest rates of underemployment Europe.

Thousands of workers, a large percentage of whom are women, are covered by zero hour contracts with many employed in the services sector and trapped in low paid jobs with poor working conditions.

The current plight of Dunnes Stores workers is a prime example of how these contracts affect employee’s ability to plan ahead financially, these workers have rent, mortgages and soon water charges to pay like the rest of us and should be entitled to some element of job security.

On a European level, today we heard from a number of young people who told us about their experiences of these new so called 'flexible' working conditions that often lead to workers being played off one another which is ultimately damaging to their overall wellbeing.

While the study announced by Minister Nash is welcome, the impact of these contracts on workers is clear. Zero hour and low hour contracts are undoubtedly a retrograde step in labour relations and Sinn Féin will abolish zero-hour contacts and make them illegal.

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