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Crowe criticises Government for refusal to back motion on workers’ rights

16 April, 2015 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West, Seán Crowe, has criticised the Government for not backing Sinn Féin’s motion to the Dáil on improving workers’ rights, widening the Low Pay Commission’s remit, and banning zero hour contracts.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“This motion is extremely timely considering the on-going industrial dispute between works and Dunnes Stores, and the victimisation of some of the participants.

“The Dunnes Stores dispute brings to the fore the inadequacy of existing legislation and its inability to protect the wages and conditions of vulnerable workers.

“I again state my solidarity and support for these workers.

“Ireland has a significant low pay problem with almost 12 per cent of workers being at risk of poverty.

“This is not unique to Ireland but a challenge to workers all over the world facing unfair zero hour contracts and a reduction in their rights.

“I have recently met with some organisers of the Fight for $15 campaign which are seeking to get a living wage for fast food workers in the US.

“The Fight for 15 campaign mobilised tens of thousands of workers to strike in the US yesterday and workers in 123 cities in 35 countries joined the demonstrations in the first of a worldwide coordinated strike for living wages.

“Irish trade unionists have demonstrated their solidarity yesterday evening.

“I was in Canada last week and spoke to trade union activists in Toronto and Montreal about the dangers of zero hour contracts and Sinn Féin’s campaign for a living wage in Ireland.

“This Private Members Motion rightly calls for an immediate ban on all zero-hour contracts.

Crowe continued:

“I welcome that a Low Pay Commission has been established but it is extremely narrow in its focus and is limited to reviewing aspects of the minimum wage.

“It lacks teeth, vision, and will create even more uncertainty for vulnerable workers and continue to disadvantage many legitimate employers.

“The Low Pay Commission needs to be established as the primary watchdog on low pay and its responsibilities widened to tackle the real extent of low pay, not just the around the issue of the minimum wage.

“This Government also needs to urgently set a date for the introduction of Collective Bargaining legislation. Ireland is one of only two of the EU’s 27 Member States that does not have collective bargaining legislation in place.

“The lack of Collective Bargaining mechanisms and anti-victimization legislation has had a direct impact on workers like those in Dunnes Stores.  The simple fact is that if such legislation was in place this dispute would not have happened.

“The Government is making a huge mistake in refusing to back our Private Members motion that will improve workers’ rights, conditions of employment and take home pay.”

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