24 August 2006 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

BY Justin Moran

Concern at exploitation of migrant workers

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Fra McCann MLA has voiced concern about the exploitation of migrant workers after it was revealed that 85% of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) inspected by the Housing Executive in Belfast between January and August 2003 where migrant workers were living required work to bring them up to an acceptable standard.

"For many years there have been concerns about the exploitation of migrant workers here in the north, particularly in relation to housing," McCann pointed out.

"These figures confirm that many landlords, operating properties where migrants are living, are offering sub-standard accommodation. The best way to tackle the problem is through mandatory registration, strong regulation of standards and enforceable penalties for landlords who provide sub-standard accommodation or exploit their tenants."

A closer look at liberalisation

An excellent new book from the International Labour Organisation, Winners or Losers? Liberalizing Public Services, examines and questions the liberalisation of public services around the world. Seven areas are covered: health services (including mental health and nursing home provision); secondary and higher education; pensions; public employment services; labour market training; criminal care (particularly prisons); and social care for children and the elderly.

The book addresses a number of key questions. What are the impacts of privatisation on employees? What happens to "clients" when services start competing with the public service? How rapidly is liberalisation taking place, in which countries, and by what means? The book also addresses questions of governance, making useful recommendations for policy makers, employers, trade unions, civil society, academics, and international organisations. It is available free on request by emailing your name and address to: [email protected]

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