Next five years vital to the positive agenda for working people

01 May 2024
  • Von der Leyen and EPP shift to the right is bad news for workers.
  • Dublin needs a strong MEP in the Socialists & Democrats Group to campaign for workers’ rights

To mark May Day, Labour’s European candidate for Dublin, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has set out his agenda for workers’ rights for the next five-year term of the European Parliament.

According to Aodhán, “We all want the same things when we go to work: to be treated with dignity and respect. To have the free time and security to enjoy time with family and friends, safe in the knowledge that we can get on well in life. Yet the EPP and right-wing populists are attacking our hard won gains throughout Europe.”

High among Aodhán’s priorities are:

  • To ban zero hour and on-demand contracts that facilitate precarious work;
  • To eliminate unpaid internships;
  • To uphold the right to join a trade union and the right to collective bargaining;
  • To give workers and their trade unions powers to limit workplace surveillance and ensure the right to disconnect.

Aodhán continued, “The recent shift to the right of Fine Gael’s European group, the European People’s Party (EPP) and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is deeply worrying for all those who value fair treatment in the workplace.”

“And now, in an attempt to placate the rising far-right across Europe, President von der Leyen and her EPP colleagues have rolled back on climate and human rights commitments, while pushing an aggressive defence agenda.  This is deeply concerning for those of us who are campaigning for a social Europe, which protects the rights of workers rather than bowing to the demands of the business lobby or reactionary populists.

“The next five years will be vital for workers’ rights.  Firstly, we need to see the current Government properly implement the EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages, which has the capacity to reduce working poverty, promote collective bargaining and improve minimum wage enforcement.

“Then we need to look to the future of work and I am committed to banning zero-hour contracts, precarious work and unpaid internships. I will uphold the right of employees to disconnect, and defend their freedom from excessive workplace surveillance.

“The European Parliament will have to legislate for the workplace of the future, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) takes flight.  AI can be a force for good, taking care of mundane, repetitive tasks and allowing workers to deploy their skills in more productive and enjoyable areas.  However, we must plan for evolving needs and a life-long learning agenda for workers. No worker should see their job displaced by an algorithm.

“May Day is a time to recognise how far the struggle for workers’ rights has come and to commemorate those whose tenacity and courage made this a reality.  It is also a time to drive our ambitions further – to make work fulfilling, to end exploitative work practices, and to protect trade unions so they can serve their members without interference.

“We want a Dublin, Ireland and Europe where workers can be confident of their future.  To achieve this, we need MEPs who will uphold and promote workers’ rights with others who share our values, and to to stand in the face of the conservative powers who shift ever further to the right. Dublin needs a Labour MEP.”

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