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Sinn Féin vehemently opposed to Services Directive - Morgan

25 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Workers Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said, “Sinn Féin is vehemently opposed to the European Union Directive on Services in the Internal Market.” Speaking in the Dáil this evening Deputy Morgan urged the Trade Union movement to “work with others to mobilize the public in opposition to the Directive.  “

He said, “The onslaught on workers rights is already under way.  Workers terms and conditions of employment are already under attack.  Some employers are increasingly attempting to displace their existing workforces and replace them with migrant workers on lower rates of pay and with diminished conditions.  However the Services Directive will bring this onslaught to a whole new level. It will attack the very ability of the Government to protect and uphold the rights of workers within the state.

“Sinn Féin is vehemently opposed to the “European Union Directive on Services in the Internal Market." It is our position that the Dáil must send a clear signal to the EU that we will not accept this Directive, that we will not tolerate workers standards and conditions being shredded at the whim of faceless bureaucrats in Brussels.  We must be unanimous in our opposition.  It is vital that the public is made aware of how the Government intends to vote on this issue at the Council of Ministers if the directive makes it through the EU parliament

“I am quiet confident that the public, if they were given the opportunity to give their opinion on the directive, would reject it in no uncertain terms.  This directive will lead to wide scale replication of the Irish Ferries situation against which the public demonstrated its opposition when 100,000 people took to the streets of Dublin in December.  Public awareness of the implication of the directive needs to be heightened.  Some EU Governments, understanding the depth of their voters’ opposition to the Directive have said that they would not accept the proposal. I am calling on the Government to follow suit and declare its outright opposition to any EU measure which will undermine workers rights, pay and conditions.  I would challenge the Minister when he is responding to this motion to state in unequivocal terms what precisely the Government’s position on this matter is.

“The protest by the 10,000 workers and the closure of ports by striking workers was followed by the rejection by the European parliament of the Port Directive which would have liberalised port services across Europe. I would commend the militancy of those workers.  The undemocratic nature of the EU does not allow EU citizens to register their opposition in any other way.  If workers don’t stand up and fight for their rights they will be taken away as part of general shift to the right and the adoption of a neo-liberal agenda of privatisation, deregulation and attacks on workers rights. The reality is that large-scale public opposition to the Directive can achieve results and could force the Irish Government and other governments to vote against the Directive.  The Trade Union movement must work with others to mobilize the public in opposition to the Directive.  Unless there is a very strong, very clear public reaction within the next few weeks we run the risk of suffering a major defeat and set-back for millions of European workers.

“Sinn Féin remains opposed to this Directive, and our MEP’s will vote to reject it in the European Parliament in February.” ENDS

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