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Zero hour contracts must be abolished – Tóibín

15 April, 2015

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s PMB, TD and Spokesperson for Jobs Peadar Tóibín has criticised the government for inaction on zero and low hours contracts, saying they have allowed this precarious situation to become entrenched in the labour force.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“Ireland has a significant low pay problem with almost 12 per cent of workers being at risk of poverty. Casual insecure work in now entrenched in Ireland’s labour force, yet Labour and Fine Gael exhibit no urgency in tackling what is a real problem for the economy. The Dunnes Stores dispute brings to the fore the inadequacy of existing legislation to protect vulnerable workers”

“Over the last four years, casual and part time workers have accounted for 20% of those signing on. This is an unprecedented percentage not replicated since this data has been collected for these workers from 2002; it is further evidence that low paid insecure work is now, under Labour and Fine Gael’s watch, entrenched in Ireland’s labour force.”

“Widespread low paid work and the prevalence of low and zero hour contracts undermines Ireland’s recovery, adds an additional expenditure burden on the state, and impacts negatively on tax revenue.” 

“It will be months before the report commissioned into zero hour contracts will be complete and this delay is simply not good enough. It demonstrates that for too long the government did not deem this an issue worth any discussion.” 

 “It’s clear Labour's election prospects are of more import to the Labour Minister than fundamental workers’ rights and the scandalous terms enforced on them by employers who refuse to engage in Ireland’s workplace relations structures. We just have to look to the strike action by Dunnes workers whose employer refuses to engage with their employees and their trade union representatives.” 

“In this bill, there is a recognition that we must immediately abolish zero hour contracts, allow workers to request banded hour contracts to allow some sense of security and the Government must set a date for the introduction of Collective Bargaining legislation before the summer recess which statutorily compels employers to engage with trade unions; provides for trade union recognition; and has robust anti-victimisation clauses to protect workers from intimidation.”

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