Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government must ensure enforcement of agreement and inspection of conditions on board Irish Ferries ships - Morgan

14 December, 2005


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment and workers rights Arthur Morgan T.D. has said that though the agreement reached in respect of the Irish Ferries situation was not "the preferred outcome" it was an advancement on the what was originally proposed by the company. Deputy Morgan called for ongoing inspection by the labour inspectorate and surveyors from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources of the Irish Ferries ships to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the binding agreement.

Deputy Morgan said

"Though the agreement reached in respect of the Irish Ferries situation is not the preferred outcome, it is significantly better than the original shameful package which the company was proposing. I welcome the fact that the agency workers will not be subjected to wages below the minimum wage applicable in this state and that this will be written into a binding legal agreement. I welcome the fact the terms and conditions will be better than originally proposed.

"The gains achieved by the unions demonstrate the importance of solidarity between workers in opposition to displacement and outsourcing. Last Friday, 9th December, the people of Ireland came out in large numbers to support these workers and demonstrate that the public-at-large do not accept the development of a low wage exploitative labour market. The gains achieved, for the existing workforce and the new staff, prove that it is worth marching, it is worth protesting and it is worth joining a union.

"I am however disappointed that the agreement reached allows for the re-flagging of the remaining Irish Ferries ships. It is important at this point to note that the situation at Irish Ferries may never have arisen if the Irish Government had not opposed the Ferries Directive when it came before the Council of Minister in 2004. Sinn Fein will continue to demand the introduction of such a directive.

"The terms and conditions contained in the binding agreement will need to be inspected and enforced. I call on the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment to ensure that there will be regular inspections of records at Irish Ferries to ensure compliance with the agreement to abide by the minimum wage. I call on the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to ensure that surveyors from his Department will, in light of this company's past record of exploiting workers on board the MV Normandy, on an ongoing and regular basis inspect Irish Ferries ships when they are docked in Irish ports." ENDS

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