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Trade Unions must be at the heart of Ireland’s Brexit Strategy – Senator Paul Gavan

30 August, 2019 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan today called on the Irish government to implement an outstanding All-Party Oireachtas Committee Recommendation to establish an Employer-Trade Union “Early Warning System” for Brexit related threats to jobs.

Speaking today, Senator Gavan said:

“Back in March 2017, the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation published its report on 'The Likely Economic Impact of Brexit with Particular Emphasis on Jobs and Enterprise.'

“In that report, we called on the government to bring together unions and employers through IBEC and The Irish Congress of Trade Unions to develop an 'early warning system' that would identify at risk sectors and enterprises and establish appropriate retraining resources and systems. This was a key ask from ICTU at a committee hearing on this issue.

“The Committee recommended that this process include trade unions from across the island of Ireland through ICTU so that we can best organise and develop a post-Brexit strategy that puts workers and jobs at the centre of Ireland’s response.

“Workers must be at the heart of Ireland’s Brexit strategy. The biggest threat to Ireland is the loss of jobs and the economic consequences of this for local communities.

“The working people of Ireland suffered austerity on the back of recklessness by international gamblers, and now they face the same fate at the hands of a reckless Tory government in Britain.

"We must develop a strategy which includes unions in identifying weak points in the Irish economy, which will help ensure that policy responses protect jobs and workers and not just businesses.

“Ireland must respond to Brexit with meaningful social dialogue. Engaging trade unions is an essential step, as they are the collective voice for workers in many vulnerable sectors. Once again Fine Gael have been dragging their feet on implementing a proposal to give workers a voice, this time on the biggest issue facing the country.

“It is imperative that Ireland’s response includes provision for retraining and upskilling.

"It is vital to the health of our economy that workers interests are put first and including trade unions is an essential component in managing the crisis we are facing.

“Fine Gael must act and implement this committee recommendation without further delay.”

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