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Tánaiste has questions to answer on Gama - Morgan

15 April, 2005


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan has confirmed that Sinn Fein raised the issue of Gama with the Tánaiste in November 2003. He has called on Mary Harney to make a full statement outlining the actions which she and her Department took once the significant concerns regarding the pay and conditions of workers employed by Gama were brought to her attention.

Deputy Morgan "Mary Harney must take responsibility for the abuse of migrant workers by Gama Construction. These issues were brought o her attention in 2003 when she was Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. I myself wrote to her on 9th October 2003 in which I echoed the concerns of BATU that Gama Construction was not in compliance with the regulations then in force. I asked her to " initiate an immediate review of any and all work permits issued to this company".

"I also submitted a PQ at the end of October 2003 which I asked her if, with respect to the employment of Turkish employees, there were inspections by her Department to confirm that those who received permits were in compliance with the terms of their permits.

„The Tánaiste needs to make a full statement to the house outlining the actions which she and her Department took once the significant concerns regarding the pay and conditions of workers employed by Gama were brought to her attention.‰ ENDS

Note to editor: Parliamentary question 186 of 4th November 2003 regarding employment of Turkish workers follows:

DAIL

QUESTION

NO.186

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the criteria for issuing work permits to citizens of Turkey to work here; the number of Turkish people who have applied for such permits since 2000; the number of Turkish people who have been granted work permits since 2000; and if there are inspections by her Department to confirm that those who received permits in that time are in compliance with the terms of their permits.

- Arthur Morgan.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 4th November, 2003.

Ref No: 25284/03

R E P L Y

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney).

Employers wishing to employ Turkish nationals on work permits have to meet the same criteria as in the case of other non-EEA nationals. The employer applies for the work permit.

The number of permits granted in respect of Turkish nationals since year 2000 is as follows:-

New Renewal Total

2000 49 20 69

2001 89 31 120

2002 86 70 156

2003 342 86 428

A significant number of the personnel in question are accounted for by one employer, a Turkish civil engineering concern.

Where overseas contractors have been successful in winning significant infrastructure contracts such as those at the power stations in Lanesboro, Shannon bridge, the Ballincollig by-pass and social housing in Dublin, the Department has been, and still is, prepared to issue work permits to allow in a specified number of foreign employees to deliver on foot of such contracts, on the following basis:

· The number of permits issued is limited in respect of each contract;

· employees are tied to the contractor while in Ireland;

· permits are of specified duration;

· permits allow the employment of an employee only on a specified contract site;

· Irish employment law applies in each case e.g. the relevant

Registered Employment Agreement (REA) must be must be observed in each case.

The contractors in question, to date mainly Turkish and Polish companies, are in effect, Contract Service Suppliers. This refers to a situation where a company based outside the State wins a contract with a client company based in Ireland and wishes to bring in non-EEA personnel to work here on the client site as part of that contract. It is normal international practice to provide for the limited entry of employees in such circumstances. This also features in Mode 4 of the emerging WTO/GATS framework. Indeed, the Department would be happy to see further interest from overseas contractors in the area of infrastructure.

The number of employees allowed into the State, even for Contract Service Suppliers, will continue to depend on conditions in the labour market here and the relevant construction unions in Ireland are quite familiar with this approach. The construction sector in Ireland is still enjoying very buoyant conditions.

All employees in Ireland enjoy the protection of employment rights legislation and, where specific complaints are made, my Department is prepared to investigate.

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