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Government needs to launch major worker's rights information campaign - Morgan

24 August, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers' Rights Arthur Morgan today expressed concern at the Comhairle report that indicated there continues to be widespread abuse of the work permit system and a growing number of workers are unable to assert their rights in the workplace because of an appalling information deficit. Deputy Morgan called on the Government to launch a public information campaign to make workers aware of their rights, while urging them to join trade unions, saying that a non-unionised employee was as good as walking around with a 'kick-me' sign on his back.

The Louth TD said: "It is deeply worrying that workers throughout the state are finding it increasingly difficult to assert their rights in the workplace. Sinn Féin has consistently said that the state has an obligation to ensure that workers' rights are upheld, and should put in place such inspection and enforcement structures as are required to vindicate those rights.

"The fact that there has been a 40,000 increase in employment queries since 2001 illustrates this point perfectly. If this Government were really addressing the problems faced by workers throughout the state we would be seeing a manifest decrease in these numbers. Instead we are seeing the opposite. Many workers, especially those new to the country, are vulnerable to exploitation because they do not know their rights. Sinn Féin is calling on this government to raise awareness among existing workers and those entering the workforce, whether they are young workers or migrant workers.

"A major Workers' Rights Awareness public information campaign on radio, television, and print media and in public spaces could go along way to familiarising the workforce of their rights and should be initiated by the Government. But the best way for a worker to be informed about his or her rights, and ensure they are protected, is to join a union. If you work for a living, you should be in a union. It is as simple as that. A non-unionised employee might as well be walking around with a 'kick-me' sign on his back."


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