25 September 2008 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe BY STEPHANIE LORD

Staff shortages stalling benefit claims

Applications for unemployment benefit are being delayed up to 12 weeks because of staff shortages at the Department of Social and Family Affairs, according to union officials.
Derek Mullen, assistant general secretary of the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), said there are around 38,000 dole claims waiting to be processed. CPSU members employed at the Department voted earlier this year in favour of industrial action over the shortages, but have not acted on the ballot “because of their loyalty to customers”.
Department staff are also angry that the pay increase due on 1 September has not come into effect, for what the union describes as “very spurious reasons”.


New protections for migrant workers

The 26 County Government will establish a scheme to regularise migrant workers who have become undocumented through no fault of their own.
The move follows several years of campaigning by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) for the introduction of a “bridging visa” to ensure that workers do not lose their legal status, or their social insurance contributions, when their employer fails to renew their work permit.
While the Government had previously claimed that such a scheme would encourage illegal immigration, it was accused of double standards for seeking similar protections for undocumented Irish workers in the US.


‘World Day for Decent Work’ video launch

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has launched its ‘World Day for Decent Work’ channel on the popular video-hosting website YouTube.
The channel will broadcast ITUC-produced videos, as well as submissions from other national and international trade unions.
The launch is aimed at drawing attention to a global day of action, scheduled for 7 October, to promote decent working conditions.
The ITUC channel is at www.youtube.com/ITUCCSI.


HSE sues staff over extra wages

Health Service Executive workers in the midlands region are being sued by their employer over wages paid to them in error.
The extra wages, in the form of overtime payments, were received by 57 employees between the late 1990s and early 2000s. The overpayments range from €150 to over €6,500. The workers involved were initially notified of the error in 2002 and say that they heard nothing further until 2006, when court summonses were issued.
46 of the workers are members of the Impact trade union, which is currently negotiating for a settlement of the dispute.

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