Calls for improved worker protections emerging from pandemic

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Galway Daily news Calls for improved worker protections emerging from pandemic
Cllr McNeilis and Deputy Alan Kelly with Forsa and SIPTU representatives to discuss issues facing workers in Local Employment Services

Now is the time to guarantee greater worker protections than existed before the pandemic, a Galway City Councillor has said.

Cllr Niall McNelis and Galway-West Labour Party, are marking World Day for Decent Work today, calling for action to address gaps in worker protections.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is important to recognise those whose jobs are not returning, and provide supports to enable them to engage in training and education, and to support job creation efforts,” Cllr McNelis said.

He added that there must be a path back to employment for people out of work, but that the “old normal” should not be the goal.

“I support my colleagues in Labour Women in their campaign for a universal, public, childcare scheme, which will address the high costs, and variable availability, of childcare in Ireland. Access to childcare is important to support gender equality and ensure access to work for all.”

The International Trade Union Confederation is calling for the creation of 575 million jobs worldwide by 2030, and for at least half of all informal jobs to be properly formalised in the same time.

Cllr McNelis said that people currently working in the gig economy need to be recognised as employees, and afforded the same protections as other workers.

“We need to legislate to ensure a right to meaningful representation by the unions chosen by workers.”

“Irish unions, such as Forsa, are currently working with employers to explore the potential of the 4-day week as a new standard for the 21st century,” Niall McNelis said.

“This has exciting implications for a new social contract, much as previous innovations like the 8-hour day and the 5-day week reshaped opportunities for leisure and recreation.”

“Similarly, it is heartening to see increasing recognition of the living wage as a benchmark for ensuring a decent minimum standard of living, one which supports social inclusion.”

Noting the global nature of the campaign for decent work, Cllr McNelis called on the Irish government to use its position in the EU, and in multilateral organisations such as the UN and ILO, to push for the adoption of strong worker protections, and conditions of employment.