The need to provide adequate protection for workers is at the core of the Labour Party's Agency Workers Bill which was launched yesterday. It follows the Government's decision last week to vote down our Private Members motion calling for the introduction of such legislation.
"The Bill is about real politics," Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD said yesterday launching the Bill.
"It is about the needs of real people. It is about protecting the rights of some of the hardest working and most vulnerable people in our economy. The people who are at work before we are having our breakfast; the people who labour on the margins of the labour market, with few protections or guarantees."
After addressing the protest organised by SIPTU in support of Agency Workers.
This evening Deputy Willie Penrose is kicking off the debate for our Private Members Motion on the exploitation of agency workers. The motion deals with the treatment of agency workers, including vulnerable migrant workers who are subject to inferior pay and conditions and exploitation. Willie's speech is available to read here.
The essence of the motion which you can read on the Oireachtas website is about 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.
Over the last two years 296 detections of breaches of the Minimal Wage legislation has resulted in only one prosecution. While there has been a welcome increase in the number of Labour Inspectors but a nine per cent drop (1,500) in the number of inspections carried out during 2007.
Meanwhile the Government has delayed legislation to protect the rights of agency workers, a promised Law Compliance Bill which has not appeared and Ireland is one of three countries blocking EU directives on temporary agency workers.
These issues were raised by Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil this morning (February 13th)
Today the Labour Party Leader Deputy Eamon Gilmore and a number of Labour representatives are in Shannon to meet with local groups on the decision to scrap the Shannon-Heathrow service by Aer Lingus.
Speaking in Shannon Eamon said: "Having spoken to business, commercial, tourism and trade union interests in the region I am more convinced than ever that this is a potentially disastrous decision that will inhibit further investment and jeopardise existing employment in this area.
"The Government must ensure connectivity between Shannon and the key Heathrow hub and the most effective way of achieving this is by ensuring that the Aer Lingus decision is reversed."
Breeda Moynihan Cronin canvassing in Killarney with Pat.
Day 11 of the Countdown to Change. In Dublin we unveiled our plan for a fair place to live and work while Pat brought his Make a Change tour to Kerry to canvas with Breeda Moynihan Cronin and Terry O'Brien.
Speaking at the launch in Dublin Ruairi Quinn said : "Our economic future will be built on high-quality jobs, not low employment standards. To thrive in an increasing competitive, globalised world, our economy must be enterprising and innovative. The quality and skills of our workforce will be central to our future success.
The Labour Leader Deputy Pat Rabbitte at the launch of A Fair Deal, the Labour Party's policy dealing with fighting poverty and exclusion.
“We must recognise the full human equality of all our people… We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.”
This quote from Robert Kennedy made in 1966 is at the very core of Labour’s A Fair Deal policy. Labour has proposed a comprehensive policy to make sure that all our people can benefit from our recent economic success. We have set out a range of measures designed to allow those who have been left behind to get a fair chance. Our ambition in Government is to continue our economic prosperity while making sure that all get a chance to fully benefit.