Despite the severity of Ireland’s crisis, workers’ rights have been improved

15 January 2016

Today the Tánaiste chaired the OECD Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting in Paris.

The meeting saw ministers agree to review the OECD jobs strategy in order to build more resilient and inclusive labour markets – i.e. working to ensure that if any future economic shocks occur, jobs, incomes and workers’ rights are protected to a far greater extent than followed the 2008 crash.

During the meeting and in bilaterals, the Tánaiste noted to ministerial colleagues the fact that, despite the severity of Ireland’s crisis, the Government in its response increased the national minimum wage and improved workers’ rights, through the restoration of wage-setting mechanisms and legislating for collective bargaining, among other measures.

The Tánaiste also emphasised the need, in her view, for the revised OECD jobs strategy to ensure that overall economic policy in member states is one that is supportive of investment and growth, saying:

“Much of our discussion today is, inevitably, about how employment and social protection policies should respond to macro-economic shocks. But there are broader policy challenges as well – of how to manage our affairs so as to minimise the risk of such shocks in the first place; and of ensuring that macro-economic policy is itself as supportive as possible of a high level of employment.”

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