17 April 2008 Edition

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Limavady motion on agency workers

LIMAVADY COUNCIL is being called on next week by Sinn Féin Councillor Paddy Butcher to support a campaign for the North’s Assembly to introduce legislation based on the principle of equal treatment for agency workers. The issue will be debated at the monthly council meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, 22 April.
Butcher said that as part of Sinn Féin’s ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ campaign, councillors throughout the 32 Counties are lodging similar motions to pressurise both governments to legislate for equal treatment of all workers.
“This motion is particularly relevant to Limavady,” Butcher said. “After the devastating blow of over 900 jobs losses announced by Seagate in the mouth of Christmas we now know that many agency workers who have been employed at the plant since it opened are being denied the severance package on offer to other workers.”
The motion supports the principle of equal treatment for all workers and calls on the Assembly to enact legislation to protect the rights of agency workers. Local Sinn Féin MLA Francie Brolly will also be calling on the Assembly to introduce the long-promised EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workers.
Paddy Butcher said:
“Agency workers are being denied their rights and entitlements, including the right to sick pay, holiday pay, overtime and rates of pay equivalent to permanent staff.
“Increasing numbers of new jobs are temporary and are being filled by agency workers. The employment of agency workers is also resulting in the displacement of directly employed workers.
“This is not just an issue that affects migrant workers. Existing Irish workers are being displaced, are forced to work as agency workers and are seeing their wages being driven down and existing conditions undermined. This practice is also driving down general wage levels in a range of sectors. If this issue is not dealt with we risk returning to casualisation of whole sectors such as the service and construction industries.
“Not only has the Government failed to introduce domestic legislation on this issue, it has shamefully played a pivotal role in blocking an EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workers for five years.”

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