Minister must respect local employment workers

07 January 2022

Labour TD for Cork East and Party Spokesperson on Social Protection, Seán Sherlock has called on the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys to immediately intervene and instruct her department officials to attend exploratory talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in order to deal with the future of local employment service provision.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“The decision by the Department to leave union representatives and hundreds of Local Employment Service and Job Clubs workers high and dry at the WRC cannot be tolerated. It is not the behaviour of a Minister that wants a successful outcome to this long running dispute.

“It is our understanding that some of the workers worst fears have already been realised and that some new “for-profit” providers of these essential services are refusing to deal with union representatives for collective bargaining purposes and engage properly in the WRC. It is wholly unacceptable that private companies can, on one hand, be awarded State contracts worth tens of millions of euro while refusing to deal with the industrial relations machinery of the State on the other.”

He added:

“The Minister needs to do the decent thing and show these workers the respect they deserve by instructing her department to attend the WRC as a matter of urgency. The irony is that the Minister has awarded a contract to a union hostile employer while her Government partners in Fianna Fail and the Green Party have committed to extending collective bargaining coverage to 80% of the working population. Policy wise that doesn’t add up and something has to give.”

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