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European Commission calls on Ireland to improve workers’ rights legislation - Louise O’Reilly TD

30 May, 2022 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on workers’ rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said that it is well past time the Irish government amended its legislation on the European Works Council to ensure compliance with the EU Directive.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The warning from the European Commission that the Irish government needs to amend its legislation on the European Works Council (EWCs) did not come out of the blue.

“For years now Sinn Féin TDs and Senators have been calling on the Tánaiste to update the legislation governing the EWCs to benefit workers and to comply with EU law, while my colleague, Chris McManus MEP, has been working tirelessly on this matter in the European Parliament.

“However, the government have refused to do this, and they have now been issued with a letter of formal notice under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), one of two treaties forming the constitutional basis of the EU.

“European Works Councils play an important role for the information and consultation of employees of multinational companies across borders – it is an incredibly important function which is underpinned by an EU Directive.

“The Directive on the EWCs compels Member States to put in place adequate administrative or judicial procedures so that workers and company management can enforce all the rights and obligations deriving from the Directive.

“However, the Commission has identified ‘… a number of shortcomings in Irish legislation, which fails to guarantee the right of workers' representatives, the Special Negotiating Body (a body of workers' representatives) or the European Works Council to go to a national court over disputes related to breaches of the rights and obligations under this Directive’.

“These are shortcomings that Sinn Féin and the Trade Union movement highlight to the Irish government on a number of occasions.

“The Tánaiste’s failure to update legislation underpinning the EWCs has created a very serious situation and the government now have two months to respond to the Commission and take the necessary measures to resolve its failures in upholding workers’ rights under the EWCs.

“If the government fail to do this, the European Commission will take the matter further and Ireland could end up in the European Court of Justice.

“The Tánaiste and the government must act now.”


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