19/02/2008

Dáil To Debate Agency Workers Rights

A debate on the exploitation of agency workers is to begin in the Dáil this evening.

The move follows a joint private members motion, which was tabled by Labour and Sinn Féin.

The motion expresses concern at the treatment of agency workers, including vulnerable migrant workers, who, they say, are being subjected to inferior pay and conditions and exploitation.

The motion supports the principle of equal treatment for all workers and calls on the government to enact legislation to protect the rights of agency workers and to support the introduction of the long promised EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workers.

Labour's spokesperson on enterprise, trade and employment, Willie Penrose, said: "Against the background of a downturn in the economy, there is a particular obligation on us all to ensure that there are adequate measures in place to prevent the exploitation of low paid and vulnerable workers, especially those employed through agencies.

"Temporary staff employed through agencies are particularly open to exploitation, as they generally have little or no job security, access to sick pay and pensions or other non-pay benefits."

Sinn Féin spokesperson on employment and workers rights, Arthur Morgan, said: "The failure of the government to introduce legislation on the issue of agency workers is having serious repercussions for workers in all sectors. It is leading to exploitation and casualisation. It is undermining existing terms and conditions of employment and is depressing wages for workers in many sectors.

"Worryingly, increasing numbers of jobs are being filled by agency workers. In particular, this phenomenon is undermining pay rates in the construction and services sector.

"It is time for the government to fulfil its obligation to protect decent work standards for all workers."

Siptu is expected to have a group of trade union activists and agency workers outside the Dáil this evening in order to lobby for the introduction of legislation on the issue, ahead of the start of the debate, which is due to begin at 7pm.

(KMcA)


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