The Social Democrats today publish the motion on Workers’ Rights that they will bring forward in their first Private Members’ time in the 33rd Dáil. The motion will be debated on Wednesday, July 15, at 8pm.

The motion aims to increase protection for workers across a range of areas, including low-pay, precarious work, collective bargaining for all workers and the valuing of essential workers we relied on during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dublin Central TD, Gary Gannon, said:

“Every worker deserves a decent wage, a sense of security and fair representation.
Since the emergence of the Covid-19 crisis, it has been our lower paid and more precariously positioned workers who have provided through their labour a most valuable contribution to our State.

“They have been essential in ensuring that our food production lines remained operational, that supermarkets continued to open. They collected our waste throughout the crisis and ensured that our hospitals were clean and that our front-line essential workers could carry out their duties in conditions that were sanitary and safe. They provided the care for our vulnerable in very difficult circumstances.

“A debt of gratitude is owed by the Irish State to its workers, particularly those in lower income brackets, or those who have contracts that are precarious, have uncertain hours of work, or are unsuitable to fulfilling the essential needs of the worker to enable them and their families to live outside of poverty, and live a decent life.

“The Government should now seek to accelerate legislation that will improve the pay and conditions of workers throughout the State as a matter of urgency. Workers are overdue better rights and protections, the absence of which was highlighted by the pandemic.

Social Democrats co-leader, Catherine Murphy TD, said:

“The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on public health and the wider economy at large. The ongoing pandemic has amplified and shone a light on the myriad of issues affecting workers in this country, from low pay and lack of job security to health and safety in the workplace.

“When this Covid19 crisis passes, employers, both in the private and public sectors, will be judged on how they treated their most vulnerable workers during these unprecedented times. But the Government has an equal responsibility to ensure that workers’ rights and conditions are enshrined in law and have full statutory backing.

“The Irish Government committed, as part of January’s ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement in Northern Ireland, to focus on creating good jobs and protecting workers’ rights. Our motion calls on the new Government to make the very same commitment to all workers in the Republic of Ireland – to give workers a voice, a decent income, security of tenure and decent working conditions. This not only matters to better health and wellbeing, but is crucial to tackling inequalities, building self-efficacy and combating poverty.

“We are calling on all three Government parties to support our motion – mirroring the commitment the last Government supported for the workers of Northern Ireland.”

All six members of the parliamentary party will be speaking in the debate – Róisín Shortall TD, Catherine Murphy TD, Jennifer Whitmore TD, Cian O’Callaghan TD, Holly Cairns TD and Gary Gannon TD.


July 14, 2020

1. See the SocDems Motion here.

2. And the Government Amendment here (page 6/236)

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