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Government must amend legislation on European Works Councils and respond to the European Commission’s warning – Senator Paul Gavan

1 July, 2022 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has said that the government must amend legislation on European Work Councils and respond to the European Commission’s warning that shortcoming in Irish law fails to guarantee the rights of workers’ representatives.

Senator Gavan said:

“For many years now, Sinn Féin and trade unions have called on the government to comply with EU law and to amend the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Act, 1996. This act is central to the effective functioning of European Works Councils.

“However, the government has ignored concerns and, two months ago, the European Commission issued Ireland with a formal notice under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

“The European Commission has now identified 'a number of shortcomings in Irish legislation, which fails to guarantee the rights of workers’ representatives'.

“The EU Directive on the European Works Councils compels Member States to put in place adequate administrative or judicial procedures so that workers and company management can enforce all the rights and obligations deriving from the Directive.

“EWCs play an important role in the protection of workers’ rights in multinational companies but Ireland has failed to properly transpose this Directive into Irish legislation.

“During a commencement matter raised in the Seanad, the Minister of State had nothing to say on the issue despite the fact that the European Commission will likely take the matter further and Ireland could end up in the European Court of Justice.

“The ill-prepared or blasé attitude of the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment on this matter is just another example of their indifference and reluctance to properly engage with unions on workers’ rights.

“The government must act now to amend the legislation and adequately respond to the European Commission.”

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