Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: From the Seanad
We have to put this legislation into perspective, particularly for the 10,000 Dunnes Stores workers, as well for workers in the retail and hospitality sectors. They need this legislation enacted as quickly as possible. Since the Dunnes Stores workers went out on strike in April 2015, three and a half years ago, this legislation has been on the agenda for these workers. Mandate, the union representing those workers, welcomed this legislation, stating it had merit. However, it supported taking out this amendment. We must have a guarantee from the Minister that this matter will be dealt with in legislation.
Deputy Clare Daly and I put down an amendment on Committee Stage concerning seeking more hours on the basis of the European Council Directive 97/81/EC and clause 4 on part-time work which states:
As far as possible, employers should give consideration to:
(a) requests by workers to transfer from full-time to part-time work that becomes available in the establishment;
(b) requests by workers to transfer from part-time to full-time work or to increase their working time should the opportunity arise;
(c) the provision of timely information on the availability of part-time and full-time positions in the establishment in order to facilitate transfers from full-time to part-time or vice versa
This is an important directive which we need to implement. In 2015, when the lone parent allowance was cut, the Government cited this as an activation measure for lone parents. The argument was that it would incentivise lone parents to seek more hours at work. However, there is nothing in legislation for any worker to seek more hours. Will the Minister explain why this directive has not yet been implemented? Will she give a timeframe as to when we can expect it to be implemented?
I welcome the Mandate members in the Visitors Gallery who have come to see the Bill passed. It is a great day for the union and its workers. I wish them well. I hope they continue their fight in the tradition of their union for their members.