19 April 2007 Edition

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Nuacht na nOibrithe

Gender pay gap still prevalent

A report issued by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions has found that differences in pay between men and women are still prevalent throughout Europe. It shows that women tend to have lower hourly wages than men and tend to be segregated in the labour market into certain sectors and the vast majority work in part-time jobs, which are often low paid. Nadja Salson of the European Federation of Public Service Unions has said that “the report confirms the trend of the past five years, i.e. small decreases in the pay gap with some increases in a number of countries”.The report goes on to recommend examining “how best practice in promoting gender equality in the public sector could be transferred to the private sector in a meaningful way”. The report concludes by saying that, “Although the social partners have taken some action to further gender equality, the issue could still be higher on the collective bargaining agenda.”


Union urge Government to show concern for undocumented migrant workers in Ireland

Rhonda Donaghey of Siptu’s Domestic Worker’s Support Group this week urged the Government to show concern for the problems of undocumented migrant workers in this country while the Taoiseach engaged in talks with US officials on the issue of undocumented Irish living and working in America. Ms Donaghey is pushing for the Government to introduce a regularisation process which would give workers in this situation an opportunity to make a case as to why they should be allowed to stay. “In our experience, the most common reason for migrant workers failing to have the necessary documentation is due to exploitation,” said the Siptu rep. “Some employers have tried to use the work permit as leverage in order to dictate pay terms and conditions of employment. Operating in the black economy also means no tax or insurance liabilities. “Siptu are recommending that as Government representatives make the case for a process to enable undocumented people to regularise their situation in the US, they should act on their own advice by establishing a similar situation in Ireland.”
These calls come the same week as a new book is published that shows foreign workers are estimated to have added up to 3% growth to Irish GNP between 2003 and 2005. Immigration and Social Change in the Republic of Ireland by Alan Barret and Adele Bergin shows that immigrants make up 9% of the population and number around 363,000.


Nurses’ industrial action will continue

Nurses are continuing industrial action this week in the wake of criticism from the Health Service and Executive Employers’ Agency. The Agency have said that their actions are “damaging to the reputation of the nurses”. The INO and PNA are carrying out work stoppages at 12 sites across the 26 Counties over two days. The 40,000 nurses are continuing their work-to-rule, which involves not dealing with non-essential phone calls or carrying out clerical duties. The dispute centres around the nurses who are seeking a 10% pay rise and a reduction of their working week by 4 hours. David Hughes Deputy General Secretary of the INO hit back at the HSE criticisms saying that “Nurses are entitled to speak up and take action when they need to.”

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