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Government must work to protect workers’ rights – Adams

1 May, 2012 - by Gerry Adams

The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today challenged the Taoiseach on the failure of the government to protect workers’ rights.

The Louth TD identified a number of specific examples of industrial disputes – including several in County Louth – where workers’ rights have been set aside by employers.

Teachta Adams said:

“During Private Members Business this evening Sinn Féin is introducing the Protection of Employees (Amendment) Bill 2012 to legislate for the growing number of instances where workers are being denied their rights and entitlements by employers.

“The focus of the Sinn Féin legislation is to enhance the period of notice for workers who are to be made redundant and to expedite the hearing and processing of claims to entitlements.”

Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil today Deputy Adams accused the government of failing to protect workers and of pursuing austerity policies that are contributing to the mistreatment of workers by some employers.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“Today is May Day. It is also the day when trade unions and working people across the world unite in solidarity and in support of workers’ rights.

“In this state Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil are about the work of austerity and the erosion of workers’ rights. In Europe the Trade Union Confederation has rejected austerity and the austerity treaty.

“Moreover some employers are using the current economic crisis to mistreat their employees.

“In Vita Cortex, Wilsons Publishing and Lagan Brick, and in my own constituency Vodafone, Diageo and Irish Cement workers are having their rights trampled upon.

“In Vita Cortex the workers have been engaged in a sit in which is today in its 138th day.

“Workers deserve protection and they don’t have that. They deserve the legal protection of the government, particularly a government which has a Labour party component.

“The Government has failed to act in this area despite numerous cases of employers flouting the rights of workers from Waterford Crystal, Talk Talk, La Senza, GAME.

“Notification periods are too short to give workers an opportunity to find alternative employment. There is a huge backlog in the processing of statutory redundancy claims.

“The average waiting period for claims to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) to be heard is 76 weeks in Dublin and 80 weeks elsewhere.

“Companies are tearing up agreements with workers leaving some with no alternative but to engage in industrial action, including the occupation of work places.”

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