Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Enda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
Question No. 7 concerns the implementation of the social partnership agreement, Towards 2016. The point they make is that a range of issues has been settled outside the benchmarking process but within the public service. I recognise this is a complex, sensitive and emotional issue and I am aware of the Labour Court recommendation and the various stances taken by the trades unions. Is it the Taoiseach's belief that the nurses' outstanding claims in respect of reducing the working week from 39 to 35 hours, their pay claim and a range of other issues can be dealt with within the benchmarking process as it currently stands or is it his belief that the benchmarking process should be amended or made more flexible to allow these matters to be discussed and negotiated to whatever conclusion? Is it his view that the door is still open, so to speak, in respect of the Labour Court being able to reach a conclusion regarding their claims for the working week to be reduced from 39 to 35 hours? The Taoiseach will be aware that some child care workers who report to nurses earn €3,000 more than them. This has been a deep-rooted grievance with the nurses for over 20 years. How does the Taoiseach believe this can be adjusted?
Several nights ago I met former Greencore workers in Mallow. The Labour Court made recommendations in their redundancy package case. Does the Taoiseach agree that Greencore should pay up as per the Labour Court recommendation?