Labour urges workers to know their rights coming up to Christmas

Senator Marie Sherlock
08 December 2023
  • Join a union to ensure your rights are protected
  • Employers must reflect on wages paid
  • Sub-minimum rates of pay need to go

Labour workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock has urged all workers and particularly young workers to know their rights and join a union in the run up to the busy Christmas period.

Senator Sherlock said:

“Christmas is the busiest time of the year for many retailers and hospitality businesses, but it can never be an excuse to treat workers badly.

“Employers have clear obligations to protect their workers, irrespective of the time of year.

“I urge all workers, particularly in the retail and service industry, to remind themselves of their rights and to tackle their boss for unreasonable requests like skipping breaks, ensure that they pay overtime and not put with disrespect from customers.

“Many of the workers who are busiest during the holiday season are some of the lowest paid across the economy. And we know that young workers aged 19 and under are only entitled to discriminatory sub minima wages set below the National Minimum Wage.

“At a time where starting rents in Dublin are well in excess of €2000 per month, those employers complaining about difficulties in hiring staff need to reflect on how difficult it is to forge a livelihood in Dublin right now and indeed in many of the other major urban centres.

“Further, I reiterate Labour’s call to Government to scrap the subminimum rates of pay for young workers. It’s outrageous and it’s nothing short of discriminatory. Young workers are too often used and abused in low paid jobs. The very minimum that this Government could do for them is end the two-tier rates of pay for people doing the exact same work.

“The ESRI told us last month that one-quarter of young workers (15-19 year olds) are paid this subminimum rate. These workers still have financial obligations and are certainly not immune from the cost of living. It’s a matter of fairness and Government must commit to addressing it.”

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