Thursday, 16 April 2015
Order of Business
I will be tabling a Commencement Debate matter with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, on the issue of salaries for county councillors. Did I agree with Senator Paul Coghlan? At the very least they should be looking at 50% of a Senator's salary.
The Leader will recall that before the Easter break I raised the issue of bullying in the workplace. In recent weeks a number of organisations have commented on this, and, in particular, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, INMO, has issued a report on bullying in the workplace. I have just returned from the teachers' conference, where I made a presentation on the issue. I was taken aside by a number of teachers and heard of some very distressing cases from around the country. I believe the use of zero-hour contracts has led to people being put in a vulnerable position, and bullying is the food, so to speak, that feeds the bully, given that people are in unstable contracts of employment. I asked for a debate with the Minister for Justice and Equality on the use of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act as a way of dealing with bullying in the workplace, because we are dealing with adults.
An extremely well organised debate of the Seanad Public Consultation Committee took place here recently on farm safety. Would it be possible to arrange a similar debate on bullying in the workplace and invite the various representative bodies to the Seanad to explain the issue? Bullying in the workplace is something none of really wants to touch. It is one of those taboo subjects that people are petrified to go near. There are many allegations of bullying in the workplace, but having been a trade union representative for many years, I found that in many cases bullying is misinterpreted. It might not be a bad thing for the Seanad to sit down and discuss with the experts, particularly the people in DCU, exactly what is bullying. Let us try to define it. I would appreciate if the Leader would consider that issue and come back to me on it.