February 8, 2021
Leo Varadkar’s Minimum Wage letter to EU “a cynical attempt to delay progressive legislation” – Louise O’Reilly TD and Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD and Sinn Féin MEP Chris McManus have described Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s signing of a letter to the European Union Presidency opposing the proposed Directive on adequate minimum wages and collective bargaining “a cynical attempt to delay progressive legislation.”

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“This proposal is the type of proactive move in advancing workers’ rights sadly lacking from Minister Varadkar or this government. That is little wonder, given he is now cynically attempting to delay and undermine the proposal.

“While Sinn Féin are wholehearted supporters of a Living Wage and want to see its introduction in Ireland, we understand the benefit the aspect of the Directive on a minimum wage would have for workers in States where regressive governments refuse to deliver for workers.

“More importantly from an Irish perspective, is the collective bargaining aspect of the Directive. The provision of compelling States to have a framework for collective bargaining -where a State’s collective bargaining coverage stands below 70% – would help improve workers’ rights in this State

“Currently, collective bargaining coverage here stands at around 30% and this low level of coverage most definitely has a negative impact on workers’ pay and conditions.

“Sinn Féin have for decades called for workers to be given a legal right to collectively bargain through their recognised Trade Union, but this has been denied by successive governments. Therefore an EU Directive setting out a framework for collective bargaining would deliver for workers and employers alike, as it would increase productivity for employers and pay and conditions for workers.”

Chris McManus added:

“By signing this letter, the Tánaiste has not aligned himself with Nordic States who have excellent collective bargaining and workers’ rights protections. Instead, he has aligned himself with some of the most regressive and anti-worker governments in the EU.

“The attempts by the Tánaiste to pretend he is protecting workers’ rights here is pathetic. His actions constitute an attack on workers and workers’ rights.”

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