Migrant workers are often exploited by unscrupulous employers. It does them, and Irish workers, nothing but harm, because the rate for job becomes the race to the bottom, and only the employer wins. The State makes the process of getting and renewing work permits very difficult, and leaves migrant worker’s vulnerable. Our Bill, presented today, wants to ensure migrant workers rights. As the old trade union slogan goes: AN INJURY TO ONE, IS AN INJURY TO ALL.

300 days of struggle. And the ‘best’ offer the Debenhams workers have received, is money to go back to school, to retrain. Many of these mostly women workers are in their 40’s 50’s and older. So what are they retraining for? The €3 million (between approx. 1200 of them!) would be better used if distributed among the workers who have been so shamefully let down. I spoke on this in Dáil.

It’s not a coincidence that the profession that has to fight consistently for fair pay and respect is a profession overwhelmingly made up of women. Nursing is one of the most important professions, and yet, they have rotten conditions, and pay. Student nurses are particularly exploited, receiving a pitiful 50euro a week for their placements, despite their intense work on the frontlines. They have contracted Covid in large numbers, due to the high-risk nature of the work. And they still are expected to do it for free. This has to end now.

As part of a mediation process, workers in very good faith commited to easing up the pickets while talks are taking place.
KPMG on their part committed to not removing stock while these talks are ongoing.
But they have removed stock from stores at Mahon Point in Cork, from Newbridge, from Tallaght, and yesterday, packers from KPMG were stacking up the stock in Henry Street.
This is an appalling act of bad faith.
Will the Taoiseach intervene and ensure that KPMG hold their side of the bargain??

Over the last 20 years, Irish workers lost out more than any other European workers, in our share of the ‘National Cake’. In 1995, 55% of the national output went on wages, by 2015 it was down to 44% (OECD figures). And you can see where it’s going with Covid – less for us, and again, more for them. Productivity up 13% for workers working from home. And still no statutory rights to UNION RECOGNITION or SICK PAY. Workers need serious regulatory protection, but we’re not going to get it from FFG’s are we? The change we voted for is SO needed..

I put questions to Minister Coveney – again – about the appalling pay and conditions that our defence forces have to endure, and crucially, why PDFORRA are not permitted to be part of the ICTU where public sector pay is negotiated. I sense a change in attitude, hinted at, if not committed to, by Simon Coveney, with regard to #PDFORRA and the ICTU. His change of tone comes towards the end of this video, from today’s Dáil proceedings. Keep after him lads (and lasses!) !!

I raised concerns about the aviation industry in the Dáil today, in the context of an amendment to proposed policy changes concerning the industry. FOR SHEER BRASS NECK, AVIATION BOSSES TAKE THE CAKE! Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair workers have been treated disgracefully by management who have taken the opportunity the Covid crisis presented, to sack union activists, slash working conditions and generally put the boot into staff. And all the while, demanding increased state aid to the industry and challenging public health measures. They rail against policies that acknowledge the to tackle #ClimateChange, and in the midst of it all, the Irish Govt make a former Ryanair boss, CEO of the Irish Aviation Authority. Former poacher turned game-keeper? I don’t think so.

Very worrying responses on the Climate Committee today. What’s happening for the workers in Just Transition is far from clear, with one of the experts telling us that “..process is as important as outcome..” and then passing the buck when it comes to specifics, like Bord na Móna workers. Very interesting too to learn that a strategy based on ‘carbon capture and storage’, may have niche role in some areas, but can generally can create more problems than it solves. And planting more trees is no blanket solution either, producing unwanted results like changes to the soil.