22 May 2008 Edition

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New urgency for agency workers' laws

Arthur Morgan

Arthur Morgan

SINN FÉIN Workers’ Rights spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has called on the Irish Government to end its delay on protection for agency workers after the British Government agreed this week to agency worker legislation going through Westminster this autumn.
Ireland, Britain and Hungary were the only three states who opposed the EU Directive on Agency Workers.
“The legislation proposals being put forward by the British Government do not go far enough for agency workers, but they are a good start and strive to guarantee equal treatment of agency workers,” Arthur Morgan said.
“Our own government has been dragging its heels on this issue for many years and the best we have from it so far is a promise to introduce legislation before the end of the year.
“All that we know of this legislation is that it will, in the words of former Employment Minister Micheál Martin, ‘meet to the maximum extent the agreed commitments in Towards 2016’.”
The Louth TD said that Sinn Féin believes the commitments set out in Towards 2016 are extremely limited.
“The problems associated with agency workers have escalated hugely since the document was signed.
“Towards 2016 entails technical regulations for agencies such as licensing, whereas the trade union movement and Sinn Féin are calling for legislation on agency workers to be drawn up based on the principle of equal treatment and to become applicable after six weeks of employment.”
Urging the Fianna Fáil-led government to act without unnecessary delay, the Sinn Féin TD said:
“Britain has today predicated the progress of its legislation on whether or not the EU Directive on Agency Workers goes ahead this year. We don’t need to wait for Europe to sign off on legislation for this. We should show that we still have a social conscience and introduce domestic legislation immediately.”

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