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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage
Bills\Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage

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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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Snippet Contents:

While I welcome the new apprenticeships in finance and insurance, the old model in the construction trade, which is returning to high levels of activity, whereby plasterers and so on used to take on one, two or three apprentices, is no longer available with small employers. Many young people would love to take up apprenticeships as sparks, plumbers or so on in construction or the motor trade, but that option is not available to them because the structure of those industries means that the small traditional employers who used to provide apprenticeships can no longer do so. Larger companies can, however. During my time, we got the ESB to restart recruiting electrical apprentices. Many large companies, including the one doing the work on Leinster House, are employing a large number of apprentices, which is great. If we keep building at this pace, however, and in light of all the new housing that we will build, we will not have enough people to do the skilled work. The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government knows this. As such, the Government must think afresh about how to get young people who are interested in a range of trades into good apprenticeships and how to give them the opportunity to get qualifications and well-paid, regulated jobs with good terms and conditions, as provided for in the legislation.
The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection should set up a monitoring unit in her Department if one is not already there. Since my time, employment has moved into her Department. Just as is the case with other areas of activity that are examined, there should be a unit that monitors continuously whether there are negative developments in respect of workers' rights. When I entered the Department, one of the tragedies of the time was that so many building companies had collapsed and gone into liquidation. The then Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation was not able to cope with the level of demand for redundancy payments. The then Department of Social Protection took that function over, built platforms and ensured that people received their redundancy payments within a relatively short period. If a monitoring unit was established in conjunction with social partnerships, given that this is a social partnership model requirement, it would be possible to examine those areas where employment patterns do not allow people to earn a decent living wage, have proper terms and conditions and have access to the social welfare system in a way that would grant them entitlements in the event of experiencing periods of unemployment or other difficulties for which they would need social welfare support.
If-and-when contracts are not properly covered in this legislation, but they should be. The bands are too few and too wide. The House should be able to agree that this matter can be addressed immediately in the form of an amendment. The legislation will be no good if it does not help the person who is in an exploitative situation and needs proper terms and conditions. When replying, the Minister might be in a position to make those commitments for the benefit of workers throughout the country.
I see people cycling around Dublin on Deliveroo bikes and carrying large boxes. I was a student and I worked in all kinds of jobs down the years. We have all done that, but to think that grown men and women - men, in particular - might spend large parts of their lives as human carriers on the streets of our cities without having proper terms and conditions is sad.