Updated: 21/03/18 : 13:00:10
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Answers needed from Leitrim Development Company on treatment of Traveller Workers

Ireland’s largest public services trade union, Fórsa, believes has that Leitrim Development Company has major questions to answer in respect of its’ treatment of Traveller workers.

Leitrim Development Company is funded mainly through public sector agencies and in 2016 received funding in excess of €3,200,000.
 
Fórsa discovered in late 2017 that the company been previously paying Traveller workers less than the statutory minimum wage. When objections were raised, the staff subsequently had their hours cut and their pay raised. The union has said that the staff in question were working on Traveller programmes.

Fórsa union North West Assistant General Secretary, Richy Carrothers said, “we have unearthed major issues in respect the unfair treatment of staff who are travellers. Ironically, these staff were employed to advance the work and support for Travellers across Leitrim.

"Leitrim Development company were paying €5 per hour, despite the national minimum wage rate being much higher. The employer subsequently paid some back money. The Leitrim Development Company cut the hours of the staff and in turn raised the pay to the appropriate minimum wage.

"The company confirmed that during a meeting with the union on the 9th November 2017 that staff in question who were Travellers, were the only employees at the firm on the statutory minimum wage."

Mr Carrothers continued, “It is illegal to pay workers less than the National Minimum Wage. The Employment Equality Acts outlaws discrimination on the basis of Membership of the Traveller community. This includes pay. Leitrim Development Company has major questions to answer in respect of their pay practices and the treatment of Traveller workers”.

“The Leitrim Development Company has now gone silent and are refusing to respond to correspondence from the union. What our members are seeking is to be treated fairly and with decency. To work in a company that is inclusive and non-discriminatory. The company want to negotiate contracts with them individually rather than collectively with their trade union”.

“We are calling on the Leitrim Development Company to negotiate with us and in the event that they do not, we will escalate our campaign to get fairness that our members are seeking and the justice that they are entitled to."