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Ireland — European Union portrayed as bad for labour rights

02 September 2009

In the run up to the second Irish referendum on whether to accept what amounts to a constitution for the European Union on 2 October 2009, discussions concerning labour rights including those for temporary workers look like they may be a key issue.

The 'No' campaign group Coir and Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MEP for Dublin are portraying the EU as being bad for workers, but a new group campaigning for a 'Yes' vote, called the Charter Group, and which includes trade unionist leaders Des Geraghty and Peter McCloone, have dismissed these claims as being "divorced from reality".

According to Mr Geraghty, "every trade union official dealing with an employer knows the enormous benefit that Europe has brought in the fight to protect workers interests".

Starting with Equal Pay legislation in 1975, the European Community has enacted over 30 key directives on workers' rights and almost the entire range of Irish legislation affecting workers is a direct result of EU directives.

Joe Higgins claims that it is the interests of big business that lie at the heart of Europe, and that these interests will always override the interests of workers.

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