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Morgan exposes case of exploitation of South African workers who are being paid €2.50 an hour to put  safety belts in Bus Éireann's fleet

19 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Workers Rights spokesperson Arthur  Morgan TD today announced that he had been contacted by South African workers  who revealed that they are being paid just over €2.50 an hour to put safety belts in Bus  Eireann’s fleet.   Deputy  Morgan said he had talked to some of the workers and examined their contracts  and there was evidence that:

  • They are not being paid the  minimum wage
  • They have not received wage  slips
  • They have not been given PPS  numbers
  • They have not been given copies  of their work permits
  • They have not been paid any  overtime to date despite working up to 72 hours a week including night  shifts.

Deputy Morgan said it is totally unacceptable that workers, who are in effect working for the state, are being  exploited in this manner.   He demanded that Bus Éireann come clean on this issue and that the Department of  Enterprise ensure that  the rights of all those employed either directly or indirectly by the state are  upheld.

Deputy Morgan said:

“In recent days I have been contacted by a number of South African workers who have been employed to put safety belts  into Bus Eireann’s fleet. Over a dozen men are working at sites in Dublin, Donegal,  Rosslare, Corkand Athlone.   I have examined copies of their contracts and bank statements and there is clear evidence that they are being paid far below the minimum wage.   They are being paid 25 Rand(approx €2.50) per hour with  their salaries lodged into bank accounts in  South  Africa.  They also receive €20 a day for food.  They have not received wage slips or PPS numbers and their work permits are being held with the company.  They are expected to work  up to 62 hours a week including night shifts but have received no overtime pay  to date.

“The South African workers were hired by Marble Gold, which is a trade name for a South African company PROSEAT.  Transport Components, an Irish firm  which holds the contract for installation of the safety belts from Bus Eireann,  uses the South African company to hire cheap labour. 

 “The company is advertising similar jobs on  its website for Irish workers at a rate of €10 per hour. This is as gross an  example of abuse of migrant workers I have encountered but is increasing proof  that the economic growth in this state is sustained on the back of misery,  inequality and exploitation. It is less than four  months since it was revealed that migrant workers refurbishing the ESB's  Moneypoint power station were being paid well below the minimum wage.  It is outrageous that there are similar  revelations about a second state owned  company.

Sinn Féin is  calling for:

  • The Department of Enterprise to  immediately investigate these allegations and to ensure that these workers are  retrospectively paid what is due to them.
  • The tightening up of public  procurement rules to ensure that companies who breech employment law are  ineligible for public contracts.
  • The Labour Inspectorate to be  increased to the projected 90 immediately, rather than phasing it as is proposed  in Towards 2016.
  • The upholding of the rights of all workers, regardless of  where they come from.

"That workers,  who are effectively working for the state, are being paid well below the minimum  wage is totally unacceptable.  The  lax attitude of the Government in respect of ensuring employer compliance with  employment law must come to an end.” ENDS











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