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Cullinane Welcomes Cross-Party Support for Protection of Employees Bill

30 June, 2017 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for workers’ rights David Cullinane TD has welcomed the cross-party support for his Bill to address tactical insolvencies, saying it is a positive step in the fight for the rights of workers.

Deputy Cullinane said:

"Last night both the government and Fianna Fáil said that they would not oppose my Bill to protect the economic rights of employees in an insolvency.

"As a result it passed second stage without a vote and is now in committee for pre-legislative scrutiny.

"The Bill was also fully supported by deputies Claire Daly and Bríd Smith who spoke favourably on the issue and I wish to thank them for this.

"I also wish to thank Mandate Trade Union, Unite the Union, the CWU, the FSU and OPATSI for their support .

"This Bill sets out to tackle the practice by certain unscrupulous employers to transfer assets from their company to a holding company in order to avoid paying their bills redundancy settlements.

"The use of the State's insolvency mechanisms by these employers to avoid their wage and invoice obligations needs to stop, and in order for it to stop we need to change the law.

"We have seen too many cases over the years of companies using the courts to engage in a tactical liquidation in order to avoid paying their debts both to their employees and to their creditors.

"The recent example of this that comes to mind is that of the Clery's workers, which saw 450 unionised workers suddenly lose their jobs without any forewarning.

"The cost of this is ultimately borne by the State.

"At the moment this is all perfectly legal, but it is also wrong and as such there is a responsibility on TDs as legislators to fix that.

"I am happy to say that the Dáil agreed - with the exception of Labour, who did not show up for the debate - and the Bill is now in committee.

"Here the work really begins as we need to ensure that then it comes out of committee the rights of workers remain front and centre.

"Given the almost universal cross-party support for the Bill I am confident that this will happen.

"Sinn Féin is fully committed to the issue of workers’ rights, this is the third Bill I have moved and the second to make it to committee.

"Sinn Féin will continue to fight for the rights of working people and their families."

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