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Council backed Lough Foyle Ferry Company not paying workers minimum wage - Sinn Féin councillors demands answers

16 April, 2005

Sinn Féin Donegal County Councillor, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Limavady Borough Councillor, Anne Brolly have said they will be demanding answers as to how Lough Foyle Ferry Company subsidised by both councils has not been paying some of its staff the legal minimum wage. Cllr Mac Lochlainn has been informed that some staff working on the Magilligan/ Greencastle Ferry are receiving a wage of €5.60 per hour or €210 for an average 37.5 hour week, which is well below the legal minimum wage of €7 per hour in the 26 counties. The Lough Foyle Ferry Company is subsidised €108,000 by Donegal County Council and £55,000 by Limavady Borough Council per annum in a joint cross border tourism initiative to operate the Magilligan/ Greencastle Ferry.

Cllr Mac Lochlainn said:

"I have to say that as an elected member of Donegal County Council, I am extremely concerned at information I have received that this company, subsidised to the tune of €208,000 per annum by Donegal County Council to operate the Magilligan/ Greencastle Ferry and the Buncrana/ Rathmullan Ferry are currently not paying some of their workers the minimum wage. If my information is correct, then it is nothing short of an absolute disgrace. Particularly in the context of figures that Donegal County Council were presented with, outlining the great success of the Ferry so far. Failure by employers to pay their employees the minimum wage is nothing short of exploitation and we in Sinn Féin will not condone exploitation.

"I will now be asking the County Manager, Michael McLoone to immediately undertake an investigation in to this situation. My party colleague, Cllr Anne Brolly will be taking a similar initiative in Limavady Borough Council. If the allegations prove correct, then they must have serious repercussions for the company involved. At the very least, I will be demanding that all staff employed by the company immediately receive the minimum wage and then the increase to €7.65 per hour in May. As well as this, I will be demanding that any staff that have not received the minimum wage to date will be paid all the backdated wages owed to them before one more penny of tax payers money is given to this company.

"We will also be calling for a review of both Donegal County Council's and Limavady Borough Council's funding criteria to ensure that any business receiving subsidies is checked on its employment procedures in relation to paying the legal minimum wage required in each jurisdiction.

"I would also call on any workers who suspect that they are not being paid the legal minimum wage to immediately contact any of our elected representatives with their complaint."ENDS

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