The agreement was signed following a meeting between SIPTU Organiser and representatives of the Latvian community in Ireland in Liberty Hall, Dublin, on 8th September. Those in attendance included the Latvian Ambassador to Ireland Dr. Gints Apals, the Chairperson of the Irish Latvian Chamber of Commerce, Ilze Kreslina, the Chairpersons of all the Boards of Municipalities in Latvia.
SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Ethel Buckley, said: “The meeting discussed many issues confronting Latvian people in Ireland including workplace exploitation, low pay, language problems and exclusion from Irish social and political institutions. There was also discussion on wider issues which effect all workers in Ireland including the lack of affordable housing and childcare, as well as the lack of provision for women's healthcare including termination of pregnancy.”
She added: “In recognition of our work to organise Latvian workers in Ireland and to assist with the integration of Latvian nationals into Irish society and political life, the Latvian Ambassador agreed a new working protocol with SIPTU based on mutual cooperation. The agreement includes a commitment from the Latvian Consular Service to encourage Latvian workers in Ireland to organise themselves into SIPTU in their workplaces and their communities.”