Ahead of May Day, TD for Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell is highlighting recent improvements to workers’ rights and says that Fine Gael will continue to make progress in this area.
Deputy Farrell said: “We have a long history of workers’ rights in Ireland. May Day gives us the chance to reflect on the evolving nature of work and what kind of Ireland we want to create for all employees. I am committed to ensuring we continue to progress the rights of workers in Ireland. My own Grandfather Terence Farrell served as President of the Congress of Irish Unions, which predated the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
“Fine Gael, throughout its time in Government, has been dedicated to progressing the rights of workers. This is reflected in 7 separate increases in the minimum wage under Fine Gael Governments over the last 10 years. This represents a 25% increase in the minimum wage which now stands at €10.25, its highest ever level.
“We’ve increased maternity and paternity benefits and enhanced the Treatment Benefit Scheme through which people can access dental, optical and aural treatments and services.
“For the very first time in Ireland, Fine Gael ensured these benefits were opened up to the self-employed and we also achieved our commitment to equalise the tax treatment of self-employed people.
“We are committed to supporting workers who need that support at various times in their working lives. This includes the introduction of a Bill on Statutory Sick Pay, which will see no worker left out of pocket if they fall ill.
“Fine Gael also delivered public sector pay restoration as we recovered from the worst economic crash in the history of the State, when many doubted we could do it. A study has also recently been commissioned into the introduction of a living wage in Ireland.”
Deputy Farrell continued: “As we all know, the world of work is changing and Fine Gael is committed to ensuring our legislation and work practices reflect this. We are currently engaged in consultations across the country on this topic. Recently, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar introduced the right to request remote working as well as the ‘Right to Disconnect’, which will improve work life balance for employees.
“We also recognise that going to university does not have to be the only route to a decent job. After the economic crash, Fine Gael prioritised the development of apprenticeships and Minister Harris has now developed programmes that will see 10,000 new apprenticeships created every year from 2025.”
“Our economy has suffered great uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic and many families and workers have been severely limited in their ability to work. Fine Gael will ensure that we rebuild our economy and create jobs post-Covid. We have done it before and we will do it again. In the process we will ensure that the dignity of work is not diminished and we will continue to deliver the progress workers rightly deserve”, concluded Deputy Farrell.