11 January 2007 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
BY STEPHANIE LORD
Migrant Workers’ Rights Promoted in the North
This week saw a drive initiated by the Human Rights Commission in the Six Counties to help thousands of migrant workers secure their rights including government benefits and housing. The Animate Project, a migrant worker equality initiative based in Dungannon, County Tyrone and a Law Centre have produced a comprehensive range of rights-based guides designed to help migrant workers understand their entitlements.
Human Rights Chief Commissioner, Professor Monica McWilliams, said many of the estimated 30,000 migrant workers in the North were vulnerable to human rights abuses simply because they, and the agencies that are supposed to provide for them, simply did “not know what the rights and entitlements of migrant workers” were. The extensive range of advice materials have been produced in a range of languages including Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Chinese, Russian, Slovak and Portuguese and will be updated regularly.
Worker dies in Building Site Accident
A 57-year-old man was killed in a building site accident in Milford, County Donegal on Monday. The man was working on a housing development at Forquar, Milford when a bucket on a digger became detached and struck him, killing him instantly. The Health and Safety Authority has been notified and carried out a preliminary investigation during the week.
The death took place as figures were published by the Health and Safety Authority which showed that there was a 32% fall in work-related deaths in 2006 compared to 2005. 50 work-related deaths were reported in 2006 and 74 were reported the previous year. Two hundred and twelve workers were fatally injured in the workplace in the Six counties in 2005/6. Despite the significant decrease in the overall number of fatalities in 2006 in the South, there was no drop in agricultural sector fatalities while 7,000 non-fatal work injuries were reported in 2006. The most common cause of fatal accidents in the construction industry was “fall, collapse or breakage of material” and “fall from height” which accounted for 18 of the work-related deaths in 2006. “Loss of control of transport or handling equipment” accounted for five fatalities. Over the past five years 303 workers have lost their lives in workplaces in the 26 Counties.
Impact to hold special conference on Health Services
Public sector trade union Impact has called a special delegate conference to discuss the state of health service reform which will take place in Dublin on Wednesday, 7 February. Representatives from over 30 branches across the 26 counties will debate a single motion that has been put forward by the union’s Health and Welfare Division Executive Committee. The motion criticises the HSE’s management of the health system, service shortcomings, delays in service development, privatisation (including the co-location of public and private hospitals), as well as the government embargo on recruiting staff. It further goes on to call on the government to take “prompt action to safeguard the development and delivery of health services.” Over half of Impact’s 57,000 members work in the HSE, hospitals, community care and public health settings.