July 14, 2020
Tánaiste refuses to enact new legislation to protect workers’ covered by Sectoral Employment Orders – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Louise O’Reilly has said the Tánaiste has started as he means to go on regarding workers’ rights after he refused to commit to bring forward legislation to protect workers covered by the recently struck down Sectoral Employment Orders.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The recent decision of the courts to strike down the Sectoral Employment Order in place for electrical workers has created shock and concern for workers who are protected by SEOs throughout the State.

“The response of the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment that he will not bring forward new legislation to protect the pay and conditions of workers covered by the recently struck down Sectoral Employment Orders is extremely disappointing.

“While the government said it will appeal a High Court judgment striking down the law providing for SEOs setting out minimum pay and conditions for certain workers, what is needed immediately is new legislation which addresses the issues outlined in the High Court judgement.

“An appeal of the judgement could take a significant period of time, and only immediate new legislation can protect workers whose pay and conditions are protected by SEOs and strengthen these sectoral employment orders from further attacks of this nature. 

“The response from Tánaiste Varadkar that the affected workers whose pay and conditions are protected by SEOs can still have the benefit of the minimum wage was cold and offensive to those workers who are concerned by recent developments.

“The pay and conditions of affected new entrant workers and workers moving between employers are now under threat and all the Tánaiste could offer was they would have recourse to the minimum wage.

“The failure of Tánaiste Varadkar to agree to legislate to protect workers shows us all his hollow commitment to protecting workers rights is.

“What we need from this government is new legislation to address the issues outlined in the High Court judgement and strengthen the SEOs from any further attacks of this nature. Only this will bring assurance and certainty to workers.”

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