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Labour using worker’s rights as election bargain chip - Peadar Tóibín TD

13 January, 2016

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Peadar Tóibín has stated that ‘the Labour Party’s ‘Workers' Charter’ released yesterday is unrecognisable from Labour in Government.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“This charter is completely at odds with Labour’s performance in government. We in Sinn Féin have consistently put forward positive policy, legislation and amendments throughout the term of this government to safeguard the rights of low paid workers yet these have been consistently rejected by Labour and Fine Gael.

“One of the first acts of this government was to abolish the Sunday premium pay for workers. The Sunday premium was earned by low paid workers many of whom were women.

“The Labour Party in Government has taken no action to protect workers from strategic insolvency. In the case of Clerys we had the defrauding of workers, taxpayers and concession holders out of millions of euro. Despite this the Labours blocked our legislation and defended current legislation as sufficient.

“It is shocking that a Labour party manifesto document would include mention of their plans to outlaw ‘blacklisting’ of union workers after they blocked numerous amendments and legislation put forward by Sinn Féin in the last few months.

“They also made no attempts to legislate against bogus self- employment contracts in the wake of the Kishoge scandal when they had the opportunity to do so. I had to filibuster an Enterprise Committee meeting just to get the government to address the issue.  Whilst their limited Low Pay Commission only focused only on a tiny portion of workers on low pay.

“The scandal of Zero Hour Contracts and Low Hour Contracts continues. Tea and sympathy was offered to the Dunnes Stores workers yet my Banded Hours Contracts Bill has yet to receive Labour support.  

“If Labour in government were serious about the issues of workers’ rights then they would push through the appropriate legislation now before the end of the term rather than going before the electorate once again on empty promises.

“The Labour Party’s inaction on workers’ rights is in stark contrast to their vigour in introducing a series of regressive taxes in the form of property tax and water charges, which have taken no consideration of people’s ability to pay.”

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