April 26, 2022
Senator Paul Gavan calls for the EU to accede to Social Charter

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called for the European Union to accede to the European Social Charter in order to enhance citizens and workers’ rights.

Leading a debate on behalf of the United European Left at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg today, on strengthening the partnership between the Council of Europe and the EU, Senator Gavan said:

“The EU needs to ensure steps are taken to make Europe a better place for all its citizens. We need to see values and rights protected through the rule of law and in this regard I call on the EU to accede to the European Social Charter.

“Right now across Europe ordinary working people are hurting. Front line workers who literally kept the lights on throughout Europe during the Covid pandemic are now facing a cost of living crisis.

“Yet in Ireland workers still do not have a legal right to collective bargaining. We need fundamental change to enhance rights for working people and their trade unions.”

Further to comments at the debate this morning Senator Gavan added;

“EU accession to the Charter would put pressure on this government to deal with the concerns about low pay, lack of housing and  accessibility to healthcare for workers and families which they are failing to do even in light of the cost of living crisis affecting ordinary people.

“The European Social Charter aims to protect the most vulnerable in our society and guarantees rights related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare.

“Currently, the EU serves an á la carte menu of social rights and there is a need for consistency, uniformity and equality. It is not enough that some social rights are protected in some states and not in others.

“The Charter focusses greatly on workers’ rights and very importantly, the right to fair pay.  It also protects the right to collective bargaining and it is quite concerning that a recent report shows that collective bargaining in Ireland is at a historic low.

“Trade Unions and workers need to be protected during times of economic uncertainty.”

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