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Serbian workers still waiting on arrears 7 weeks later

16 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Workers Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has called on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mícheál Martin to explain why the Labour Inspectorate has failed to report on its investigation into the exploitation of 56 Serbian workers on the ESB's €3billion networks renewal scheme. Deputy Morgan today called for a suspension of normal Dáil business to discuss why the report has not yet been submitted to the Labour Commission seven weeks after the minister made a commitment that the inspectorate would "urgently" investigate the conditions of the workers and why they are still waiting on arrears due to them.

He said, "The Minister must explain why, despite his commitment that the Labour Inspectorate would urgently investigate the conditions of 56 Serbians working on the ESB's €3billion networks renewal scheme, seven weeks later the inspectorate has not yet submitted its report to the labour commission and why workers are still awaiting substantial arrears due to them.

"Action must be taken against the employer which according to evidence produced by the TEEU was paying workers a mere €3.21 an hour in breech of the Minimum Wage Act, the Registered Employment Agreement and a number of other pieces of employment law.

"The past year has seen migrant workers being treated shamefully in this state with the Government doing little or nothing about it. Minister Martin needs to show the migrant workers in Ireland that he will no longer tolerate exploitation, that he will defend their rights and that he will punish offending employers accordingly." ENDS

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