Fair Conditions at Work

At my first meeting of the Council I proposed an emergency motion to support the Greyhound Workers in their locked-out work situation. Since then I have raised concerns about Dublin City Fire Brigade staffing levels and their health and safety in the absence of proper a risk assessment audit of the city, have spoken to a motion condemning the appalling treatment of the Clery’s Workers – I urged DCC to protects the use of the Clery’s building for retail in the Special Planning Control Scheme for O’Connell St. My most recent advocation for workers’ rights was bringing a motion seeking that DCC support the Irish Congress of Trade Union’s Charter for Fair Conditions at Work in November 2015.

This Charter sets out five key principles that constitute fair conditions:

  • A Living Wage – a wage that affords an individual sufficient income to achieve an agreed, acceptable minimum standard of living
  • Fair Hours of Work – the right to a regular contract of employment which provides security of hours and certainty of income
  • The Right to Representation & Collective Bargaining – the right to be represented without fear of victimisation and to have a union represent them in collective bargaining negotiations with their employer.
  • Respect, Equality & Ethics at Work – the entitlement to be treated with respect and dignity, as they go about their work without being subjected to discrimination, harassment
  • Fair Public Procurement – that worker employed under a publicly-tendered contract is entitled to enjoy all the rights and protections outlined in this Charter

CongressCharter_PK_AG_Nov2015

My motion focused particularly on the Fair Public Procurement aspect of the Charter. This aspect of the motion/Charter is  dictated by three new EU Directives which must be passed into Irish law by April this year.  How these Directives are legislated for will have a impact on workers working for companies that secure  public procurement contracts – potentially their rights and entitlements can be significantly protected.

To support my DCC Councillor colleagues’ understanding of the Charter and to encourage them to sign up to it, I invited ICTU General Secretary to give them a briefing on the details. I’d like to support all those attended, signed the Charter and supported my motion. Dublin City Council’s support for Fair Conditions at Work is an important statement for those who work for our local authority either by direct or indirect contracts.

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Below is my press statement on the passing of the motion

Dublin City Council is the largest council in the country and not only is it a significant employer but also awards a significant number of public contracts so the acceptance of the 5 principles of the Congress Charter will impact positively on a vast number of workers”

“Paying a living wage; providing fair working hours; the right to union representation and collective bargaining; respect, equality and ethics at work and fair public procurement are the five elements of the Charter.”

“Dublin City Council fully recognises trade unions – their employees are represented by IMPACT and SIPTU and their terms and conditions are determined in the main under collective bargaining agreements. However, when it comes to public procurement and the outsourcing of contracts there is no guarantee that, in practice, the terms and conditions of contracted workers comply with labour law or labour agreements particularly when it comes to subcontracted workers — fair public procurement procedures will ensure this”

“Fair procurement processes also allow for the weighting of social considerations so that contracts are both economically advantageous to the local communities and contractors. They also allow for the consideration of a contractor’s history with regard to compliance of legal sand employment rights and obligations thus legitimately affording the exclusion of employers that regularly do not uphold or respect employee rights and entitlements”

“I recognise that the passing of this motion is only a stepping stone in ensuring Dublin City Council applies the principles of fair procurement. We will need to ensure that appropriate resources are put in place to ensure the maximising the potential of fair procurement process in favour of workers and of local communities, particularly in the area of compliance with contract details”

Text of Motion 

The Congress Charter for Fair Conditions at Work seeks a societal consensus as to what constitutes fair conditions of employment. The charter identifies five key principles which, as a minimum, should be respected by every employer: a living wage, fair hours of work, the right to representation and collective bargaining, to be treated with dignity when at work and fair public procurement. This council supports and advocates the implementation of the Congress Charter for Fair Conditions at Work for all DCC employees and applies its principles in it public procurement process. In particular, DCC will:

  1. work with DCC employees’ union representatives to ensure the implementation of the Charter across all DCC departments/sections
  2. apply the following principles of public procurement as per EU Public Procurement Directives:

• Most economically advantageous tender (M.E.A.T.) so formulated to always include social considerations such as the impact on local employment. Under this DIRECTIVE it is essential that social considerations are given a suitable weighting.

• Compliance with Labour Law: ‘Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that in the performance of public contracts economic operators comply with applicable obligations in the fields of environmental, social and labour law established by Union law, national law, collective agreements or by the international environmental, social and labour law provisions’ Article 18

• Inclusion of Social Clauses: to detail specific criteria to require as a condition of the contract, respect for employment rights, including respect for right to collective bargaining and compliance with relevant JLCs (and  EROs/REOs and REAs) and/or relevant Minimum/Living Wages (ILO Convention 94 on Labour Clauses in Public Contracts).

• Selection and Exclusion Grounds for Tendering: including the exclusion of abnormally low tenders, having regard for economic and financial standing of tenders and previous behaviour compliance behaviour with legal/employment rights obligations

• Joint and Several Liability in Contracting Chains: that the tenderer be asked to indicate in its tender any share of the contract it may intend to subcontract to third parties and to name and have oversight of any proposed subcontractors.

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