A motion aimed at guaranteeing minimum pay and conditions for agency workers throughout the economy was passed unanimously at Monday night’s meeting of Waterford City Council.
Cllr Jack Walsh (Lab), who moved the motion, on the agenda since June 2008, said trade unions had raised concerns that many such workers were retained on minimum conditions and in some instances were not receiving all of their entitlements.
“Agency employment should not be used as an unnecessary substitute for direct employment or as a mechanism for avoidance of, or undermining of fair play and conditions”, Cllr Walsh asserted.
Noting that legislation had come before the Oireachtas regarding agency employment, he asked that the Council recommend to the Minister that the principle of equal treatment should be included in any such legislation on the issue.
He said the motion sought to have Ireland comply with an EU directive approved by the European Parliament in 2002, with the objective of providing a minimum level of protection for temporary agency workers and removing any discrimination in terms of their treatment compared to permanent employees. Apart from the UK and Hungary, Ireland was the only other EU country yet to introduce the appropriate measures into law.
The government last July introduced the Employment Agency Regulations Bill in the Oireachtas, but Cllr Walsh said repeated requests by him had failed to clarify what the Minister’s intention was regarding progressing the Bill through the various stages and into law.
Seconding the motion, Cllr Seamus Ryan said there were several instances of terrible conditions being endured by agency workers, the GAMA workers being a prime example.