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"Precarious and part time work is becoming the norm"- Lynn Boylan MEP

25 November, 2014 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken tonight at the European Parliament in Strasbourg about the negative impact of precarious employment on the health of workers.

Lynn Boylan was participating in the debate on EU Commission Health & Safety at Work objectives for 2014-2020 where while she welcomed the commission’s declared desire to protect workers, she also questioned the ongoing pursuit of policies that are leading to precarious and insecure working conditions.

 “In Ireland precarious and part time work is becoming the norm, since 2008 there has been a 46% increase in the number of workers underemployed.  Women, migrants and young people are especially vulnerable and are disproportionately affected. The psychosocial health impacts this phenomenon has on workers cannot be underestimated.

Job insecurity and the pressure of irregular working hours causes significant stress for workers with many of them trapped in jobs that don’t pay a living wage. In Ireland alone over 25% of our workforce is low paid and these low wages negatively impact on workers ability to access healthcare and nutritious food.

 The insecure nature of employment in Ireland is now coupled with the fact that wages are dropping, with working hours increasing. The new CSO preliminary estimates released today indicate that the wages of the average worker have fallen by 1.9% in the three months between July and September 2014.

 Longer hours for less pay, or zero hours for an indeterminate amount of pay seems to be the new working mantra in Ireland.

 If we truly wish to engage with the issue and of health and safety for the working population then we must also tackle the issue of low pay and insecure working conditions.”

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