Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Challenges to Ireland's Competitiveness: Discussion

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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I believe that the right to collective bargaining has to be part of that. We cannot simply have a system whereby the State, when it feels like it, gives rights to workers or says to employers that if they do a certain thing, it will give them a certain thing and they have to respect workers' rights. If workers' rights are for sale, eventually the price becomes too high. I would like to see a focus on collective bargaining as a mechanism for workers to achieve a decent place to work and not for the State to somehow gift it to them. Eventually the State may run out of benevolence and workers would be left behind.

Mr. Gilvarry referred to the need for this to be a good place to live. We all know that it is not a good place to live for many people. With regard to childcare, its costs, the cost of living in general and the state of housing, do the witnesses have specific recommendations about what workers are looking for to keep them here and to attract them? I could not see anybody who lives in a place with a normal housing market looking at Dublin and thinking that it would be a good place to move to. The witnesses should not get me wrong. Dublin is the greatest place in the world to live but I cannot see people who live in a place with a functioning housing market looking at Dublin or Ireland and thinking that they want to move here. The cost of housing, the lack of protection for renters and so on drive workers out. It would be interesting to hear what steps the witnesses think we can take in the short to medium term that will bear fruit and have an impact on attracting workers.