Gavin Mendel-Gleason

Gavin Mendel-Gleason

The Workers’ Party has criticized a recent announcement by government to seek 800 non-EU workers to take up work permits in the agri-food sector. The Party has called for any job vacancies in the industry to instead be opened up to undocumented migrants and asylum seekers in Ireland.

Workers’ Party representative in Dublin Northwest, Gavin Mendel-Gleason, said:
“ICTU have been heavily critical of this shady government scheme, and with good reason. The proposed rate of pay (€22,000) is well below the pay rates agreed between trade unions and employers in the sector. Non-EU workers have a right to the same decent, negotiated rates of pay as all other workers in Ireland.”

Mendel-Gleason continued:
“The red meat sector where 250 of these permits are earmarked for was until recently a minimum wage job. Trade Unions in that sector have worked hard to bring rates of pay and conditions up over a number of years by sheer hard work on behalf of their members in the meat processing industry.

“It is exploitation in the extreme to take advantage of those migrating to Ireland to work, to unilaterally pay them lower rates than trade unions have negotiated.”

Mendel-Gleason concluded by highlighting the number of migrants without the right to work already in Ireland, saying:
“There are plenty of workers in direct provision already in Ireland who are prevented from working, and undocumented migrants who are working illegally. In fact there are direct provision centres located in rural areas where employers say they need these workers.

“Surely, the logical thing to do would be to open up opportunities like this one to those workers first. But of course that would mean employers paying decent wages, negotiated with trade unions.”