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Trade Unions Must Be Protected – David Cullinane TD

8 February, 2017 - by David Cullinane TD

David Cullinane, Sinn Féin spokesperson for workers rights, launched a bill today that would ensure that trade union officials have access to their members in the workplace. It is designed to combat union-busting which undermines our industrial relations procedures.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“It is incredible that, in the 21st century, trade union officials can be physically blocked from meeting their members in the workplace, especially given the crucial role trade unions play in workers’ rights, pay and conditions.

“The Industrial Relations (Right to Access Amendment) Bill will allow trade unions to work out a reasonable time with an employer for access to trade union members in terms of collective agreements as well as wider workplace issues.

“We have seen in recent years some unscrupulous employers using the law to stymie trade unions in their work. The purpose of this Bill is to bring some necessary balance to the situation.

“There are of course competing rights between employers and employees.

“However those rights at present are loaded in favour of employers and are exploited by unscrupulous employers.

“This needs to be addressed through proper legislation that brings actual balance to these competing rights, rather than the Fine Gael way which is to take the side of companies willing to use the law to circumvent the rights of employees at all times.

The present dispute between Tesco Ireland and Mandate is about pay but it is also about the right of a trade union to negotiate on behalf of its members.

“We can see that when it comes to workers' rights in this State, the new politics of this cosy Fine Gael-Fianna Fail agreement has a very old feel to it."

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