Responding to the European Commission’s decision to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for not complying with EU working time limits Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate Lynn Boylan has sharply criticised the Labour party for failing to deliver on very basic workers’ rights describing it as yet another example of Labour’s lurch to right.
The young female candidate said:
“In 2009 Labour’s Dublin MEP described the urgent need to reduce junior doctors excessive working hours as ‘a health and safety issue’, adding that it was ‘disgraceful that almost five years after the EU limits came into effect, junior doctors in Ireland are still forced to work dangerously long hours for themselves and their patients.’
“Here we are in 2013 with a Labour coalition government brought to the European Court of Justice for the very same breach of working time limits as Fianna Fáil and the PDs were responsible for.
“The EU Working Time Directive stipulates that junior doctors must not work more than 48 hours per week on average. It also requires junior doctors to have a minimum of 11 hours rest between shifts. Yet we know some junior doctors are working up to 90 hours in a week.
“This Directive has been in place since 2000. In 2009 the European Union criticised the Fianna Fáil led government and in 2011 it criticised Fine Gael and Labour for its failure to implement this Directive. Clearly this criticism has fallen on deaf ears resulting in the decision by the Commission to refer the violation to the ECJ.
“Surely a Labour party in government would have sought to champion such an important workers rights issue.
“The bottom line is excessive working hours is bad for junior doctors, bad for patients and it is undermining health service provision. Labour knows this and despite their fine words in opposition they have managed to compound the problem since taking their seats on the government benches.” ENDS