Minister for Labour Affairs and Fianna Fail TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has rejected claims by the No to Lisbon campaign that the Lisbon Treaty will undermine workers' rights and public services.
Minister Calleary said: “It is simply untrue for Joe Higgins and others in the No to Lisbon Campaign to claim that workers’ rights will be eroded under the Lisbon Treaty. Among the stated aims of the treaty are: ‘The promotion of a social market economy, full employment, the fight against social exclusion, the promotion of justice and social protection'. Anyone who reads the treaty will be left in no doubt that it seeks to strengthen, not weaken, the rights of workers.”
Minister Calleary said that contrary to claims by the No side, “the EU has in fact been a driving force for workers' rights over the years. Irish people have benefited greatly from progressive EU employment legislation such as equal pay for equal work.”
He continued: “Moreover, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which will be given legal status under the Lisbon Treaty, significantly advances the protection of workers’ rights in terms of collective bargaining and action, the right to information and consultation, the right of access to placement services, the protection in the event of unfair dismissal, fair and just working conditions, and prohibition on the exploitation of younger workers.”
He concluded: “Claims by Joe Higgins that Lisbon Treaty will lead to the privatisation of public services are bogus. The Lisbon Treaty does not in any way affect Ireland’s ability to provide, commission, and organise services of general interest. This was copper-fastened by the Irish Government in June 2009 when it secured a reference to public services in a solemn declaration ensuring that each member state has responsibility for delivery of services such as education and health.”