Dáil Éireann - Volume 611 - 06 December, 2005

Written Answers. - Labour Inspectorate.

  100. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of employers who have been subjected to inspections by the labour inspectorate in the past 12 months; and the number of these employers which employ migrant workers. [37916/05]

  Mr. Killeen: The labour inspectorate is responsible for monitoring certain employment conditions for all categories of workers in Ireland, including immigrant workers. The inspectorate operates without any differentiation with regard to worker nationality as statutory employment rights and protections apply to immigrant workers in exactly the same manner as they do to native Irish workers. Accordingly, the labour inspectorate does not have a statistical breakdown of the number of employers who employ migrant workers. Inspectors pursue allegations of worker mistreatment and when evidence of non-compliance with the relevant employment rights legislation is found, the inspectorate seeks redress for the individual or individuals concerned and, if appropriate, a prosecution is initiated. A total of 4,225 workplace inspections-visits have been undertaken by the labour inspectorate since the commencement of 2005. An important measure of the effectiveness of the labour inspectorate is to look at the arrears of pay collected on behalf of employees. Almost €400,000 has been recovered by the inspectorate in 2005.

Following the Minister’s announcement earlier this year, there are now 31 inspector posts sanctioned for the labour inspectorate. This represents almost a doubling of inspector personnel in the past 12 months and is indicative of a determination to ensure compliance with employment rights legislation. Following a recent selection [1201] process the labour inspectorate now has its full complement of 31 inspectors.

When the full complement of officers is fully operational they will concentrate on those employment sectors that have traditionally required considerable attention from the inspectorate. These would be the services sectors that are covered by employment regulation orders such as hospitality, cleaning and agricultural work. It is notable that many migrant workers are employed in these sectors at present. I urge anyone who has specific evidence of the mistreatment of workers to furnish all the relevant details and any related materials to the inspectorate with a view to pursuing the matter.