17 September 2009 Edition

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Ferris slams Fine Gael 'bribe' over Lisbon and workers' rights

Martin Ferris

Martin Ferris

SINN FÉIN Workers’ rights spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has slammed Fine Gael’s promise that if the Irish people vote Yes to Lisbon and they are returned to office, they will legislate for the right to collective bargaining.
Ferris described this promise as a bribe and challenged Fine Gael to support a Sinn Féin effort to enshrine the right to collective bargaining in the constitution.
The Kerry North TD said:
“Last year Sinn Féin introduced a Bill to enshrine the right to collective bargaining in the constitution. We were joined by the Unite trade union in launching the Bill. The unions have been demanding this for years. Fine Gael have been entirely silent on this issue until now and had ample opportunity to deal with it when they were previously in power. They never bothered.
“The latest promise from Fine Gael shows the depths to which the Yes side in the Lisbon campaign will sink. The continual blackmail over what will or won’t happen depending on how people cast their vote has turned democracy into a farce. First it was the Yes side threatening the economy will implode if we vote no. Now they are offering bribes. The right to collective bargaining is not something that should be dependent on whether people support the Lisbon Treaty.
“The question must be asked if Fine Gael intends to legislate for the right to collective bargaining in the event of the Irish people once again rejecting the Lisbon Treaty.
“Fine Gael needs to be clear. If they are really interested in workers’ rights they need to commit to bringing forward a constitutional referendum to enshrine the right to be represented by a trade union and to bargain collectively into the constitution.”

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