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Morgan welcomes resolution in South African workers case

1 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Workers Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has welcomed the ending of the exploitation of 19 South African workers who are employed in this state to fit safety belts in the Bus Eireann fleet. After a series of interventions by Sinn Féin, SIPTU and the Labour Inspectorate the men are now all employed directly by Transport Components. The only outstanding issue which remains to be addressed is that of retrospective pay.

Deputy Morgan said, "Less than two weeks ago I exposed the case of a group of 19 South African workers who were employed in five locations across the state to fit safety belts in the Bus Eireann fleet. These men, who were not directly employed by any company in this state, were not receiving the minimum wage and were clearly being exploited.

"After a series of interventions by myself, SIPTU and the Labour Inspectorate the men are now being employed directly by Transport Components and almost all of the grievances which they raised have been addressed. The only outstanding matter which remains to be resolved is that of retrospective pay and I believe that this can also be dealt with.

"It is telling that following publicity about this case that it has been largely resolved in less than a fortnight. It shows what can be achieved when political pressure is applied. It's vital that employers, who are flouting the law, get the message that labour laws have to be fully implemented without exception. Any employer in breach of labour law should receive heavy penalties and be told very clearly that they will no longer be used for state contracts.

"But this is just one case. There are growing concerns about the pay and conditions of workers across a whole range of industries and these are issues that effect Irish workers and those who are working here from abroad.

"The government needs to get a grip of this situation. Their lax attitude in relation to the protection of workers rights needs to change. They need to instruct all of its agencies to do an audit to ensure that all contracts and those employed on them are fully compliant with Irish labour legislation, at a minimum." ENDS

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