Dáil Éireann - Volume 645 - 30 January, 2008
Written Answers. - Work Permits.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Deputy Thomas P. Broughan
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the status of the EU agency workers directive; the reason the Irish Government is still opposing the introduction of this key directive with two other countries; if he will immediately introduce legislation to give effect to the provisions of the directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2013/08]
Deputy Billy Kelleher Deputy Billy Kelleher
Deputy Billy Kelleher: The Portuguese Presidency tabled for consideration, at the ESPHCA Council, on 5th December 2007, proposed Directives on Temporary Agency Work and the Organisation of Working Time in its efforts to fashion an overall compromise solution by way of an integrated approach to discussions of two sensitive dossiers. Regrettably, having identified the remaining issues of concern to various Member States, the Presidency was unable to progress these dossiers to a successful conclusion and concluded that the best option was to postpone a final decision on these matters. Ireland was fully prepared to assist in trying to resolve outstanding issues at the Council rather than postpone addressing these to a later date.
On my return from Council, I apprised the social partners of the outcome of the discussions and the current state of play regarding future progress of this dossier in a detailed letter dated 13 December 2007. The Government have at all times indicated that we fully support the thrust of the proposed Directive but that we are concerned that any such instrument must be balanced and respect the different traditions and practices at the national level. Thus if flexibility is to be permitted in the proposed Directive in relation to the principle of equal treatment for those countries with collective agreements which tend to be more binding in nature or legally enforceable, then other means for providing appropriate flexibility should be allowed for those Member States with a tradition of more voluntarist approaches to collective agreements.
As part of the Government’s commitment under the partnership agreement — Towards 2016 — the elements of proposals for the draft Scheme of a Bill to regulate the employment agency sector are being finalised.
In the course of consultations on the proposed Bill some parties have raised matters not included in the current partnership agreement, including immediate pay parity on the commencement of employment. This demand is outside the scope of measures agreed in Towards 2016 and, in any case, does not have due regard to the arrangements in other Member States. It does not recognise the need for an appropriate balance with the flexible needs of enterprises and does not have regard for the needs and choices of agency workers.
With regard to legislation to give effect to the Directive, this does not arise as the Directive has not yet been adopted, as I have already mentioned.
Dáil Éireann 645 Written Answers. Work Permits.