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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
SINN FÉIN’S drive into the political mainstream was boosted last night as Labour joined forces with the party for the second time since the general election.
For so long publicly cold-shouldered by other Dáil parties, Sinn Féin and Labour will jointly put forward a private members motion demanding greater protection for agency and migrant workers.
Labour and Sinn Féin last co-operated over the Seanad elections — despite Labour fighting the general election as part of the Rainbow coalition, ruling out any deal with SF.
SF employment spokesman Arthur Morgan said the Government was deliberately stalling on implementing an EU directive which would give better conditions and stronger security to agency workers.
"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 sectors," he said.
Labour’s employment spokesman, Willie Penrose, warned that a worsening job situation was leaving migrant workers more vulnerable than ever.
"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," he said.
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