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ESB migrant workers pay revelation "outrageous" says Morgan

13 March, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment and Workers Rights, Arthur Morgan TD described as "outrageous" news that migrant workers refurbishing the ESB's Moneypoint power station are being paid well below the minimum wage. Deputy Morgan said if these allegations are substantiated then it will be a "serious indictment of the Governments appalling record in protecting workers rights."

The County Louth TD said, "The ESB is a wholly owned state company. It is absolutely outrageous if the claims being made by the TEEU trade union today are found to be true.

"This is further evidence that there needs to be a tightening of public procurement rules to ensure that workers rights are prioritised and that companies who breech employment law in respect of the minimum wage and other employment rights be ineligible for public contracts. Many people were rightly outraged when worker-exploiting GAMA Construction recently secured a major public road building contract. Under present rules this is permissible. It is a slap in the face for compliant companies when such employers are awarded public contracts.

"The revelations in respect of the treatment of these migrant workers at Moneypoint once again demonstrates the necessity to substantially increase the labour inspectorate to at least 75 inspectors is demonstrated. Companies are concluding that they can get away with flouting labour law because they know enforcement is not a government priority. They know that the likelihood of being inspected is minimal because of the shortage of inspectors. The lax attitude of the Government in respect of ensuring employer compliance with employment law must come to an end.

"That workers, who are effectively working for the state, should be subject to payment well below the minimum wage is serious indictment of the Governments appalling record in protecting workers rights. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment must initiate an immediate investigation into the employment conditions of the migrant workers at Moneypoint power station which were highlighted by the TEEU today."

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