Howlin: “Enhancing workers’ rights is at the heart of Labour’s agenda.”

Labour TDs have announced that they have introduced a motion into Dáil Eireann today to enhance workers’ rights and increase protections for low paid workers. Labour Leader Brendan Howlin said: “All Labour TDs will be supporting this motion when it comes to a vote tomorrow (Wednesday) evening. We are now urging members of the public to contact their local TDs – party and non-party -to call on them to do the same.

“As economic conditions continue to improve, it is vital that we have policies in place to ensure that working people and employees across all sectors of the economy secure a fair share of growing national prosperity.

“It was disappointing that commitments on advancing the employment rights agenda were almost entirely absent from the recent Fine Gael/Independent Alliance Programme for Government.

“This was at the heart of Labour’s agenda in government where we ensured the enhancement of workers’ rights even at the height of the economic crisis. This included two increases to the Minimum Wage, the establishment of the Low Pay Commission, the re-establishment of the legislation for Registered Employment Agreements and the JLC system, two new REOs for contract cleaners and security staff and the introduction of landmark Collective Bargaining legislation.

“Now we want to build on that record of delivery. Labour has proposed a programme of incremental increases to the National Minimum Wage until it is pegged at 60% of median earnings, and for a Living Wage of €11.50 per hour to be adopted throughout the public sector.

“We also want to tackle low pay and address the root causes of insecurity at work. The Government must urgently consider a legislative package that will end the abuse of “if and when” contracts; combat bogus self-employment; ensure freelance workers have the right to collectively bargain; extend the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations (TUPE) to workers in services such as catering and security; protect workers in ‘informal’ insolvencies and collective redundancies; provide statutory redress for the victims of workplace bullying; promote employment standards and the Living Wage in public procurement, and prevent unilateral reductions in pay.

“It is also critical that the recommendations of the University of Limerick report to Government on the prevalence of zero hours contracts and, commissioned by former Labour Minister Ged Nash following the outrageous treatment of Clerys workers in June 2015, are acted upon as a matter of urgency.

“These are vital issues for low and middle income workers all over the country. I hope that all parties and Deputies will recognise the need to work together to ensure further reform of the employment law and protections and support the Labour Party proposals in the Dáil tomorrow.

“This will only happen if members of the public put pressure on TDs from other parties to vote for our motion, and I am urging them to do precisely that.”