October 22, 2020
State paid recruitment firm €3.2m to hire frontline health workers on zero-hour contracts – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment, and Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said the outsourcing of hiring of key staff in the fight against Covid19 by the State is “completely unacceptable”.

The Dublin Fingal TD was speaking after information released to her revealed that the State paid over €3 million to the CPL Group since the beginning of the pandemic.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The outsourcing of hiring of key staff to deal with the Covid19 crisis, such as contact tracers, nurses, and doctors, to recruitment agencies is an unacceptable practice.

“We have heard time and time again from workers how they have been hired by recruitment firms to work in the health service in the fight against Covid19 on precarious zero-hour and short-term contracts, with no protections such as sick pay.

“It is a shocking state of affairs that nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals who came home from all over the world to help out in the battle against this pandemic were given zero-hour contracts.

“Indeed, many of these staff were just let go by HSE during the summer when we began to ease the lockdown.

“This practice is not acceptable, and the government and HSE should cease it immediately. Zero-hour contracts are inherently wrong and using agencies like this creates precarious unsustainable jobs. What’s even worse is the State have paid out €3.2 million to the CPL Group to hire these additional staff.

“The State and the HSE have thousands of human resources personnel, so it beggars belief that they would pay out millions to recruitment companies to do this same work and hire these staff.

“The government and the HSE are hiding behind the excuse that this was necessary because of the immediate need to hire staff – but when we delve deeper into this we find that hires were delayed, especially for contact tracers, zero-hour contracts were issued, staff had contracts terminated with no notice, and there were no sick-pay provisions for staff.

“This situation has caused more harm than good, and many healthcare professionals who have been the victim of this have told me they will never work for the HSE again.

“This government have learned nothing from the pandemic – our health services, like our economy, cannot be built on the back of precarious work, the exploitation of workers, and poverty wages. The state should be a leading light in the fight against these practices instead of a willing participant.”

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