July 20, 2021
Mishandling of fisher exploitation case needs to be accounted for – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD has said it is of crucial importance that the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Employment hold a hearing on the gross mismanagement of a high profile migrant fisher exploitation case by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and the Workplace Relations Commission.
 
Teachta O’Reilly said:
 
“The mishandling of an investigation into the non-payment of wages to four undocumented Ghanaian fishers came as a significant shock to the workers themselves and to the reporting organisation, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
 
“It beggars belief that the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) missed by four months a statutory deadline for completing its investigation into the non-payment of wages owed to four fishers.

“The situation was subsequently compounded when the WRC failed to call the four fishers as witnesses in criminal case taken against the vessel owner, indeed, they did not even inform the fishers that the case was taking place.
 
“This is unacceptable from an organisation whose mission is to to deliver a world-class workplace relations service and employment rights framework for employers and employees.

“The evasiveness from the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment in answering questions regarding the matter is also a significant concern.
 
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly argued for more resources for the WRC so they are not stretched, and they can carry out their duties to an exceptional standard.

“We must uncover and understand what caused this mishandling and ensure that something like this can never happen again.
 
“There is a long list of questions that the WRC and Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment need to answer, and it is crucial that they are brought before the Oireachtas Committee to account for this situation.”

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