Labour Party announce forthcoming ‘right to flexible work’ legislation at Jim Larkin commemoration

Senator Marie Sherlock
30 January 2022

The Labour Party has announced its intention to publish proposed legislation, this week, that will provide workers with ‘a right to flexible work’ at a commemoration marking the 75th anniversary of the death of trade union leader Jim Larkin in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin today (Sunday, 30th January).

Addressing the event which was hosted with SIPTU and was attended by members of the Larkin family, the Labour Party spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Senator Marie Sherlock, said:

“This week, the Labour Party will be unveiling our proposals for a right to flexible work.

“A right that is based on the notion that we can’t just ignore the past two years. That account must be taken of the work arrangements that have successfully evolved. A right that recognises that it must be possible to get a work life balance. A right which will put what is best for workers, our communities and our planet into the centre of the debate about our workplaces and our economy in post-pandemic Ireland.”

Sherlock criticised the Government proposals on ‘a right to request flexible work’ published last week as an example of its lack of concern for workers.

She added:

“It is staring an opportunity in the face to breathe new life into our towns and villages, while freeing up space in our cities so young workers are no longer forced out of the communities they grew up in. It is failing to realise the potential to drive down our carbon emissions and do more to tackle the overarching crisis of our era – the ecological, biodiversity and climate crisis.

“It is ignoring the gains for women during this pandemic. The gains that saw the numbers of women in full time work increase and not fall as some would have expected.”

In her speech, Sherlock also praised the legacy of Big Jim Larkin and of his sister Delia, one of the founders of the Irish Women Workers Union.

She said:

“Jim Larkin’s legacy to us today was born out of his incredible capacity with his words and analysis to stir a consciousness and to mobilise the working classes of Dublin.”

Drawing attention to the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry, she said:

“We think of the violent and utterly needless death and injury of so many in Derry, that it behoves us all to think seriously about what it will take, to bring about consent in order to agree the future of our island. There is nothing sustainable in a sectarian headcount.”

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