Press Release

SIPTU calls on Government to support Bill providing greater rights to migrant workers

Date Released: 26 November 2021

SIPTU representatives have called on the Government to reconsider its opposition to the Employment Permits (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 which if enacted would provide migrant workers with increased rights, including language training and improved sick leave provision.

SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Greg Ennis, said: “The Government has failed to introduce adequate statutory occupational sick pay provision and review the employment permit scheme system in Ireland, as recommended in the Final Report of the Oireachtas Special Committee on the Covid-19 Response in October 2020.

“Last night, it also made clear that it would be opposing the Employment Permits (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021. This Bill, if enacted, would provide for mandatory language training, 70% of salary for four weeks if a worker is forced to take sick leave and six months if they suffer an occupational injury, along with several other necessary improvements in the rights of migrant workers.

“SIPTU members view this Bill as a significant step in the right direction to protect migrant workers and our essential food supply as we learn to co-exist with Covid-19. It is now time for all TDs who ‘talk the talk’ about the essential work of food processing workers, to ‘walk the walk’ and act positively to support this Bill.”  

He added: “The existing work permit system is strongly tilted in favour of employers and this has led to the gross exploitation of migrant workers over many years in Ireland. It has resulted in many living in cramped, ill-equipped and unsafe living conditions. While working many must also endure poor health and safety provision, shameful terms and conditions of employment and increased risks of Covid-19 infection. In addition, for many, sick pay and pension provision is non-existent. 

“A worker is a worker, irrespective of their place of birth, they should be treated with dignity and respect and in a way which recognises the importance of their role in a modern, forward-looking Ireland.”

The Employment Permits (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 was proposed by the People Before Profit Party for its second reading in the Dáil yesterday (25th November) evening. Representing the Government, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Damien English, said that the Government intended opposing it at the scheduled vote on the Bill next Wednesday (1st  December).


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