McDonald calls on Government to address ‘If & When’ contracts by supporting Sinn Féin’s Banded Hours Bill

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today called on the Government to support Mandate’s ‘Secure Hours – Better Future’ campaign demand for legislation to halt the use of precarious ‘If & When’ contracts by enabling the progression of Sinn Féin’s Banded Hours Bill.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Oireachtas members of all political parties and none have recognised the need to address the use of ‘If and When’ contracts by increasing numbers of employers. These deeply unfair contracts are no longer limited to those working in retail; they are now rife in journalism, education, health and the construction sectors.

“Workers on these precarious contracts face undue difficulties obtaining mortgages, planning their personal finances week to week and managing their childcare. Some are left at the mercy of unscrupulous employers who use these contracts to manipulate their staff. It is also important to note that women are disproportionately represented in low paid insecure work.

“Mandate has today called on all Oireachtas members to sign up to the union’s ‘Secure Hours – Better Future’ charter to end Zero Hours and ‘If and When’ contracts through legislation. Sinn Féin supports this initiative.

“Sinn Féin introduced legislation in both 2015 and 2016 that would address the insecurities of these contracts by introducing a banded hour’s mechanism. This approach gives workers much needed security whilst retaining a level of flexibility for employers.

“Sinn Féin’s Banded Hours Bill has been scrutinised by the Jobs Committee and the report arising from this work will be debated by the Dáil on Thursday. Sinn Féin’s legislation has cross party support after dozens of hours of debate, expert witness hearings and amendments recommended by the members of the Jobs Committee.

“Despite the progress of the Banded Hours Bill, Fine Gael’s Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection wants to start the process all over again by introducing a new and by all accounts deeply flawed piece of legislation to address insecure hours. This begs the question why is the Minister undermining the work of the Jobs Committee and indeed her own party colleagues who sit on it.

“Today, I called on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to support the progression of the Banded Hours Bill and by doing so, give workers the security they should already be entitled to.”