JLC ruling means "Open Season" on low-paid

Government urged to bring forward urgent legislation to protect low paid workers 

The President of the Workers’ Party, Michael Finnegan, has said that today’s High Court ruling in favour of employers against the Joint Labour Committee wage setting mechanism is a disaster for the lowest paid workers in this state and effectively launches an “open season” on these workers.

Mr. Finnegan said that while the ruling was not surprising, and once again exposed the class-based bias of the judiciary, it marks a black day for all workers in this country and for the state’s industrial relations mechanisms.

“The High Court ruling drives a coach and four through a system which was introduced almost 60 years ago to protect low paid workers in industries which have a notoriously bad record on pay and conditions for workers. The judiciary’s alacrity in demolishing the JLC system is in stark contrast to their own reticence to take a pay cut like the rest of workers, which has forced the government to call a referendum on judges' pay later this year”, said Mr. Finnegan.

The Workers Party President said one need only look at those who were challenging legislative and state protections for low paid workers to see the obscenity of their quest for more profit. “One of Ireland’s wealthiest businessmen, John Magnier, whose Coolmore Stud was recently visited by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, launched his own court attack on the JLCs recently. This is a man who is, according to the Sunday Times ‘rich list’ for 2011, worth in the region of €592 million. These are the type of individuals who are attacking workers pay and who want to create the slave labour conditions of the era of William Martin Murphy who also had the backing of the law in his onslaught against the working class”.

"These vulnerable workers cannot be left unprotected and at the mercy of unscrupulous and fly-by-night operators. The government, and most especially the Labour Party ministers, must urgently bring forward legislation which gets rid of the previous constitutional ambiguities and guarantees basic dignity to the 300,000 low paid workers in this state" concluded Mr Finnegan.

Issued 7th July 2011

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics