Peadar Tóibín TD calls for swift approval of Industrial Relations Bill
Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín today welcomed the commencement of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill. The Meath West TD called on the Jobs Minister to commit to ensuring the legislation complete its journey through the Dáil and Seanad before the summer recess.
Speaking the Dáil today the Sinn Féin Jobs spokesperson said:
“Sinn Féin welcomes the Industrial Relations legislation but we are deeply disappointed in the manner in which the government has dragged its heels in addressing the industrial relations vacuum arising from the McGowan judgment. Employers and trade unions have been united in their criticism of the practices that have arisen as a result of government inaction.
“For many workers, their rates of pay have hit the floor and their conditions become intolerable. As we’ve seen across the construction sector reputable employers have been left between a rock and a hard place, competing with unscrupulous companies and contractors who secure tenders by underbidding for a job, and then passing on the losses to the subbies and labourers employed on site.
“There have been a number of high profile breaches of the national minimum wage legislation and public works contracts, as well as labourers forced into bogus self-employment arrangements by rogue contractors.
“This is not just a workers’ rights issue as the Construction Industry Federation has highlighted, these sharp practices are a real cause of concern for decent Irish businesses tendering for projects on a playing field that is far from level.
“It is widely accepted that compliance and enforcement of employment and industrial relations legislation in Ireland is lacking, and the truth is Labour has not addressed this during their term in office. For many, particularly trade union members, this has been deeply disappointing. The Industrial Relations Bill is not sufficiently robust in the area of compliance and enforcement.
“On collective bargaining, neither Labour nor Fine Gael can claim credit for its inclusion in the legislation commenced today; the programme for government affirms this. The government committed to reform the current law on employees’ right to engage in collective bargaining as a result of the need to comply with European Court of Human Rights judgements.
“The reintroduction of the registered employment agreements and delivery of commitments on collective bargaining are to be welcomed, and the trade union movement is to be commended for its role in ensuring the government delivered. The voluntary nature of Ireland’s industrial relation system will continue to throw up real challenges. However the bill before us is a step forward for workers, as is the inclusion of anti-victimisation provisions in the legislation.”