Tuesday 17 October 2017

Law change sought to protect workers

Labour leader Brendan Howlin and party members joined former Clerys staff members outside the store in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Labour leader Brendan Howlin and party members joined former Clerys staff members outside the store in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The Labour Party has claimed the first casualty of the new Government has been workers' rights.

Brendan Howlin last night proposed a motion in the Dáil that would result in a series of new protections for workers.

It would mean significant increases in the minimum wage and a living wage of €11.50 per hour throughout the public sector.

He said that as the economy recovers, the benefits need to be translated "into better working conditions and improved pay, particularly for low-paid workers".

The Private Members Motion, which is being supported by Fianna Fáil, also seeks to tackle "insecure hours and enforced, bogus self-employment".

"Of course, the world of work is changing fast. Workers have adapted to more flexible terms and conditions," Mr Howlin said.

"But, in all this change, we still need to protect the basic requirements of a decent working life."

The new Labour leader highlighted the cases of the former Clerys department store workers, who lost their jobs without notice almost a year ago and which resulted in the taxpayer having to pay statutory redundancy.

"The priority must be to ensure that a situation like Clerys cannot happen again. Our joint commitment must be that, if the law is tested and proves to be ineffective, then it must be corrected," Mr Howlin said.

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connell told the Dáil that the Government wants an amendment to the motion - which is in line with the Programme for Government.

Their version promises to respond to any recommendations of the Low Pay Commission.

Irish Independent

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