Workers’ rights need to be addressed, warns IHREC

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is warning that workers’ rights in Ireland need to be addressed.

In a report to the Council of Europe, the IHREC said it is concerned about inadequate protections for workers, discriminatory policies that affect disabled employees and the prevalence of discrimination and sexual harassment in the labour market.

The commission said the failure to acknowledge the social and economic value of care work, mainly provided by women, has led to low pay and conditions.

The report highlights that trade unions have no legislative right to be recognised in the workplace for collective bargaining purposes.

It also finds that the Government has not yet accepted several provisions of the Revised European Social Charter, a binding human rights treaty that Ireland ratified in 2000.

These include the rights of employed mothers to sufficient time off to breastfeed, the rights of workers to be consulted on decisions which affect their employment and responsibilities linked to childcare and housing.

The IHREC is calling on the Government to protect economic, social and cultural rights in Irish domestic law by incorporating them at a constitutional level.

“No one should suffer discrimination due to their economic or social situation, yet we see this happen daily throughout the country,” said SinĂ©ad Gibney, Chief Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

“It is vital that the State steps up and delivers on its commitments to all people working to earn a living,” she added.