New Events

National

no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Catholic Church: Dark influence still active

offsite link Tom Parlon launches new career in comedy Anthony

offsite link Presumption of innocence does not universally apply in Ireland Anthony

offsite link The poor standard of Irish political journalism Anthony

offsite link RTE bias: A failure of objective journalism Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Sergey Lavrov?s interview with the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty Thu Jul 18, 2019 19:00 | Scott
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov?s interview with the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty published on July 17, 2019 Original interview in Russian Question: Can an improvement in the relations with the United

offsite link Inside the Yellow Vests: What the Western media will not report (Part 3) Thu Jul 18, 2019 03:21 | The Saker
by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog As we come closer to August, when most of France (and Europe) is in holiday mode, I think that it is an apt

offsite link Western intellectuals freak over ?Frankenstein? China Thu Jul 18, 2019 01:53 | amarynth
by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission Western economists and intellectuals obsessed with demonization of China are never shy of shortcuts glaringly exposing their ignorance. The latest outburst posits that

offsite link IMF who? Lagarde shows ECB is the top dollar job in QE age Thu Jul 18, 2019 01:34 | The Saker
by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker blog (cross-posted with PressTV by permission) (Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009.

offsite link Georgian Rugby Players Kicked Out For Their Russophobic Gestures Wed Jul 17, 2019 23:46 | Scott
by Ruslan Ostashko Translated and captioned by Leo. Into an exile from the Moscow club “Glory” turned for two Georgian rugby players a demonstration of “support for the people of

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link China?s LGBT Community Mon Apr 15, 2019 19:19 | Human Rights

offsite link Declaration of Human Rights at Sea Mon Apr 08, 2019 07:31 | Human Rights

offsite link NZ Watchdog On Limits Of Free Speech Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:44 | Human Rights

offsite link US Abortion Restrictions Violating The Human Rights Of Women Thu Mar 14, 2019 15:33 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Watch Urges the Human Rights Council to Renew and Strengthen Mandate of UN Commission Tue Mar 12, 2019 21:51 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link A minority experience? 10:38 Fri Jul 19, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Co-living? 10:06 Fri Jul 19, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Bad to worse 08:10 Fri Jul 19, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Signs of Hope ? A continuing series 12:44 Thu Jul 18, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Differences of opinion 10:36 Thu Jul 18, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Government plays cynical game with Dunnes workers livelihoods

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | press release author Monday October 09, 2017 22:57author by mandatetradeunion Report this post to the editors

This week in the Oireachtas workers on insecure hour contracts became collateral damage in a cynical game of power play politics by the government. A disgraceful ploy to block the David Cullinane TD sponsored Banded Hours Contract Bill was concocted by raising a spurious money message mechanism which government conveniently uses to halt the progress of opposition bills that have a genuine chance of succeeding in the Dail.
screenshot20171006at173956.png

It seems almost irrelevant to the government that in halting the progress of this important piece of legislation many workers on precarious and insecure contracts who are struggling day and daily to plan their lives and to pay their bills will be the losers by this insidious government political chicanery.

Over the past 18 months Sinn Fein worked closely with Mandate on developing the Banded Hours Contract Bill to allow workers achieve some security in their income and their hours.

The Bill was passed by the Dail at Second Stage on 17th July 2016, with a deferral for 12 months pending legislative scrutiny in the Jobs Committee. This committee heard from over 40 witnesses – including Mandate, ICTU, IBEC and academics – and it produced a 52 page report with 21 recommendations on strengthening and improving the legislation.

David Cullinane TD, the original mover of the Bill, told the committee that he was happy to see all those recommendations incorporated into the Bill. Subsequently, on the 20th September 2017 the Business Committee agreed to allow the Bill to return to committee for amendments. Given the intense scrutiny applied to this Bill over a protracted period and its broad cross-party support, pending the amendments, on the Jobs Committee chaired by Mary Burke FF TD, it is truly incredible that all this time, effort and excellent work can be destroyed at the stroke of a pen by government mandarins intent on denying opposition parties from having good protective legislation enacted.

In April 2015 Dunnes Stores workers took industrial action to achieve income security in their employment. They want and need Banded Hour contracts which would allow them the ability to better plan their lives. This Bill took on much greater urgency for workers when the Labour Court agreed to suspend a case between Mandate and Dunnes Stores for a period of six months pending the passing of the Bill as its incorporation into law would settle the issues raised by the case.

This six month hiatus ends in February 2018 and the government hatchet job imposed now on this important Bill means that the likelihood of getting any decent legislation to protect workers enacted before that date is looking increasingly unlikely. Given the time-sensitive nature of the suspended Labour Court case it almost defies belief that the government would put its own narrow political self-interest above that of low paid workers in precarious type employment. Shame on them for doing so.

David Cullinane TD sought leave to refer the bill to committee for implementation, which was granted by the Dail on 3rd October 2017, but the “money message” barrier was dropped on the Bill afterwards. The ridiculous reason given for delaying this Bill was that it would increase the workload of the Workplace Relations Committee thus requiring additional resources. Government Bills with a money message can be turned around in less than three weeks but opposition Bills do not receive any attention whatsoever. In fact, every single opposition Bill passed at second stage by the Dail this year is still awaiting developments on the money message issue.

If this Bill was about bailing out a failing bank or to help the government refuse to accept billions from their friends in multi-national companies who aren’t paying their fair share of this country’s tax burden then the legislation would be delivered wrapped in a gold bow in the morning. The fact that this Bill was trying to assist workers on low hour contracts to achieve a fairer deal from their employer would appear largely irrelevant to the government and their faceless and nameless bureaucrats who assist them in regularly screwing workers in favour of profitable businesses.

Workers on low hour contracts cannot get a mortgage. They cannot adequately plan their lives as they live in limbo with uncertain hours. They cannot guarantee they will be able to pay their bills from week to week and must make stark choices on what they can purchase with the little money they have at their disposal. These workers needed urgent action and the genuine concern is that the government recent promise by Minister Regina Doherty to deliver soon on banded hour contracts will be a much more watered down and frankly useless piece of legislation that will further enslave these downtrodden and forgotten workers who deserve much better from their government.

Mandate has serious reservations that the governments intended Banded Hours Legislation will either now be delayed with the absence of the Sinn Fein Bill or that it will be an ineffective and dangerous piece of legislation that doesn’t protect workers whatsoever. We have concerns that the government will not implement strong and robust legislation because the Heads of Bill produced so far indicate a real lack of understanding about the predicament many of these workers face. Minister Regina Doherty’s recent public utterances also indicate no intention whatsoever of banning zero hour contracts and “if and when” contracts. That is a national disgrace and we will not stand idly by and allow that to happen unchallenged.

The Sinn Fein Bill is a strong, well balanced and highly scrutinised piece of legislation that deserves to be adopted and made into law. Unfortunately, good and sound legislation is not a major priority for this government based on their actions. Sinn Fein, and in particular David Cullinane TD and Conor McCabe Parliamentary Advisor, are to be commended for their dedicated and hard work over the past 18 months towards developing legislation that would actually do something to protect vulnerable workers.

Mandate will continue to campaign vigorously and lobby intensively over the coming weeks and months to challenge any attempt by government to implement weak and bad legislation. Any watered down alternative to the Sinn Fein Bill will be challenged robustly by our members and we will support them with everything at our disposal. We are committed to the principles of Decent Work and refuse to accept anything less. Mandate’s Decent Work campaign roadshow will be coming to a venue near you over the coming months so make it your business to get along to hear about what’s really happening in Irish society today and join collectively with many other like-minded workers in fighting back and delivering a better Ireland.

Related Link: https://dunnesworkers.com/2017/10/06/government-plays-cynical-game-with-dunnes-workers-livelihoods/
© 2001-2019 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy