HMV sit-in 2013 – Lockout 1913. Why are workers rights overlooked?

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From Occupy Dame Street Facebook page

Sinn Féin Councillor for Tallaght Central, Máire Devine has welcomed the ending of the sit-in protest at HMV.

Councillor Devine said: “I welcome the ending of the sit-in protests of HMV staff in HMV stores around the country, including those in The Square in Tallaght and the workers have received assurances from the Receiver that they will receive monies owed to them by next week. It is alarming though that workers getting paid  for their work is a cause for celebration.

It is a disgrace that workers have to engage in sit-in protests to get their just entitlements. These sit-ins are becoming far to frequent and are mainly a result of employers walking away from their responsibilities.

Part of the problem is that in most cases these are non unionised workers on low pay who are left high and dry by their employers. All of these cases show the importance of trade union membership.

Like many others I was following and supporting the HMV workers via social media which came into its own in garnering massive support and updating Joe public with the latest news.

It is very important that workers who find themselves in this unfortunate situation know their rights.

When companies go into receivership workers are entitled to at a minimum Statutory Redundancy which is two weeks per year of service with an extra week added to the overall figure.

Budget 2011 saw changes in statutory redundancy which saw the rebate (amount an employer could claw back from state) reduced from 60% to 15%. This has resulted in many employers not paying anything above statutory so again it is the workers who lose out.

In a receivership situation workers are also entitled to any unpaid wages, holiday pay and minimum notice (this depends on your length of service) although standard is four weeks.

However workers have to have their claim verified by an employment rights body and apply under the Insolvency Fund. This can sometimes take months.

Last year Sinn Féin brought forward a Bill to deal with these issues. The substance of the bill was to reduce waiting times for payment under the Insolvency Fund by introducing timescales (maximum of four weeks) for a hearing with a Employment Rights Body and again a maximum of four weeks wait to be paid.

This modest Bill was rejected by Fine Gael and Labour and they failed to bring forward legislation of their own.

It is a scandal that in the centenary year of the 1913 Lockout workers in the state are still being so shabbily treated.”

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