Ireland is to face questioning at the United Nations tomorrow (October 6) on why it has failed to introduce or enact legislation upholding trade union rights, in line with international treaties and its human rights’ obligations.
The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, will face questioning from other member states on Ireland’s human rights’ record, as part of the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at UN headquarters, in Geneva.
This is the first time that Ireland has faced such direct scrutiny from other UN member States.
Among the questions that Minister Shatter will face is one dealing directly with the state’s failure to legislate for full recognition of union rights in Ireland.
The question from the Norwegian representatives, reads: “Is Ireland prepared to enact legislation to underpin the right of workers to collective bargaining through their trade unions, in line with the Irelands international commitments?”
As part of the rights’ review process Congress made a separate submission to the UN on the failure of successive Irish governments to uphold and vindicate trade union rights. Congress has already welcomed the inclusion of a commitment to legislate for collective bargaining, in the Programme for Government.
The Congress submission – which was accepted by the UN – pointed out that Ireland’s failure to enact such legislation was a violation of the Right to Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise.
Congress has also lodged a formal complaint on the same issue with the International Labour Organisation. This is scheduled to be heard next month.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is part of the Your Rights Right Now coalition of 17 leading civil society organisations that has been working to ensure diplomatic representatives in Geneva are fully informed about the situation in Ireland.