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Committee report calls for new measures to halt exploitation of migrant fishermen – Maurice Quinlivan TD

14 December, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today welcomed the publication of the Business, Enterprise and Innovation Committee’s report on the working conditions of migrant fishermen in the Irish fishing fleet, and said that the report highlights serious problems that need addressing in the industry.

Speaking today, Deputy Quinlivan said;

“We spent a number of Committee meetings discussing the working conditions of non-EEA crew in the Irish fishing fleet, exploring how the industry operates and hearing from both employers and workers organisations.

“Many issues were identified in the course of our discussions but of particular concern were the conditions some workers face on certain vessels in the Irish fleet.

“The most harrowing story was to hear how an injured worker was put in a survival suit and thrown overboard to be picked up by another vessel.

“The issue of undocumented migrant workers was also highlighted, a group that because of their legal status, are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

“In the past year, inspections by the Workplace Relations Commission 198 contraventions were detected over 159 vessels that were inspected.

“We are concerned that the WRC will not have sufficient resources needed to continue inspections to ensure conditions are being monitored.

“One of the main recommendations of this report is for one Minister and Department to take responsibility for the fishing industry and its workers, as currently the responsibility is spread over Agriculture & the Marine, Justice, Transport and Business Enterprise and Innovation. This is resulting in no one department taking the lead, and allowing issue to persist and drag on, at the expense of workers.

“Today we also encouraged the employer and worker representatives to engage in constructive discussions to try and address some of the issues in the industry.

“The industry is vital to many communities around the coast of Ireland, employing 11,000 people and contributing €1.1 billion to the Irish economy last year, so it is vitally important it is properly regulated to ensure worker’s rights are upheld and business owners are supported."

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