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Gavan calls for Trade Union Rights for Limerick Hotel Workers

10 July, 2019 - by Paul Gavan

Speaking today in the Seanad, Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan called for the recognition of trade union rights for workers in the hospitality sector. Senator Gavan called for the establishment of a protocol whereby Limerick City and County Council, and other government institutions, insist that companies who are in receipt of taxpayer’s money recognise workers’ rights to the fullest extent.

Senator Gavan said:

“The Sinn Féin Tips Bill continues to progress in the Dáil, but of course the issues in the hospitality sector go way beyond that.

“I want to refer to the Workplace Relations Commission Reports for the last three years, where you’ll see, in the food and drinks sector, a 48% rate of non-compliance with basic employment law in 2016, 58% in 2017, and a 67% rate of non-compliance in 2018 for the food and drinks sector.

“Similarly, in the hotels sector, there was found to be a non-compliance rate of 48% in 2016, 58% in 2017, and 58% in 2018.

“In other words, our restaurants, our hotels, the majority of workplaces inspected are not in compliance with basic employment law. They are not issuing proper contracts, not complying with the National Minimum Wage Act, the Organisation of Working Time Act, and the Payment of Wages Act.

“It’s truly shocking, frankly, the standards in the sector. And I want to refer specifically to Limerick. Limerick City and County Council showers hundreds of thousands of euros each year to hotels which do not recognise Trade Unions.

“Isn’t it time that we, as a country, decided that, when we’re going to award taxpayer’s money, that we at least insist on a level of decency in this sector. We should be calling on those hotels to recognise the right of their staff to join a trade union, and to be recognised as trade union members.

“This sector has allowed this carry on for far too long and the WRC evidence is in. It’s getting worse, year by year. A 67% rate of non-compliance with basic employment law is not good enough.

“We need politicians across all parties to act on this issue.” 

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