THE LAW MUST be changed for undocumented workers, a Labour TD has said.
Labour TD and vice chair of the jobs, social protection and education committee, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, alongside Robert Dowds TD, met with Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD yesterday on the issue.
At the meeting they discussed the recent ruling in the Hussein v Labour Court case, said Deputy Ó Riordáin.
On Friday 31 August 2012, the High Court overturned a Labour Court ruling ordering the payment of €92,000 to an exploited migrant worker, Mohammad Younis.
Explained Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin:
Younis had secured the award against Amjad Hussein – trading as Poppadom Restaurant – for what the High Court described as “appalling exploitation” which included working 77 hours a week for as little as 51cent an hour.
Judge Gerard Hogan stated in his ruling that the Employment Permits Act 2003 had produced ‘consequences which were not foreseen or envisaged. Specifically it may not have been intended by the Oireachtas that undocumented migrant workers should effectively be deprived of the benefit of all employment legislation by virtue of his illegal status…’.
Speaking after his meeting, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
I have stated my position to the Minister that the law must be changed to protect people most at risk of exploitation and humiliation. From my meeting I am reassured to hear that the Minister has agreed to look into this issue as a matter of urgency.
He said that he “was appalled to learn of the unintended consequences that were attached to the Employment Permits Act 2003″.
“It is vital that we fix these anomalies immediately and I will continue to raise this matter with the Minister until all those who are in need of protection are in receipt of the same,” said the TD.
At the time of the High Court decision, Gráinne O’ Toole of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland said:
A fundamental problem with the Employment Permits Act has been uncovered. This is devastating, not only for Mr Younis, but for all undocumented migrants who are now left without protection against exploitation under Irish labour law. It is a sad day for Ireland when a man who suffered extreme exploitation is denied justice while his exploiter walks free.
Younis himself said he was “in a black hole and devastated by this news”.