September 30, 2005
Open Labor Markets In Ireland: The Effects
From The Financial Times (subscription required)
Irish Continental Group (ICG), owner of Irish Ferries, has set a deadline of Sunday for 540 of its Irish workers to accept a redundancy offer, enabling the company to replace them with cheaper east European labour on a contract basis.Ireland, the UK and Sweden were the only European Union member countries to provide immediate access to their labour markets for workers from central and eastern European states following enlargement in June 2004.
David Begg, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, described as "deeply obscene" ICG's plans to "dump 543 workers and replace them with people on around €3 per hour".
He told a conference: "This should serve as a wake-up call for legislators at a national and EU level."
Mr Ahern told the Dáil on Wednesday he would "not defend for one second" the manner in which the company has acted. He added: "The jobs will be filled by non-nationals from God knows where, and on conditions that nobody knows."
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