Protest Against Work-Permit Changes

Protest against work-permit changes

The Irish Times
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 15:46

More than 100 people attended a demonstration today to voice their dissatisfaction with the Governments proposed changes to the Work Permits Scheme.

“No special treatment, just equality” was the message emblazoned on the protest signs of members of the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland (MRCI).

These new rules, due to be implemented on June 1st, will mean that any migrant worker in Ireland who becomes unemployed will only be able to take a new job if the position has been publicly advertised for two months.

Speaking at the protest, MRCI director Siobhan ODonoghue expressed her concern with the changes. She has asked the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to postpone the introduction of this measure so that a review of its implications can take place.

The introduction [of the changes] will be an impossible barrier for any migrant workers, she said. When speaking to the Minister of State with special responsibility for Labour Affairs Dara Calleary on the subject, Ms ODonoghue said that she told the Minister that the message this was sending was that they [migrant workers] are not wanted.

Also present at the demonstration were Siptu representatives, who have given their support to the MRCIs campaign. According to Ethel Buckley of Siptus organising unit, the new rules will have a serious effect on the lives of redundant migrant workers.

For most redundant migrant workers theyll have two options: either be forced to go home or to work in the black economy, she said.

As well as the demonstration, the MRCI has written to all members of the Dil asking for their support for their campaign to reverse the new measures. According to Ms ODonoghue, Fine Gael has called on the Department of Enterprise to stop the changes, and many Fianna Fil backbenchers have also informally voiced their disagreement with the move.