Irish union seeks EUR 114,000 in back pay for foreign worker

Published on
October 22, 2021
Ireland’s Atypical Work Permit (ATS) scheme is being criticized by both pro-labor NGOs and fishing groups.

An Irish union seeking back pay of EUR 114,000 (USD 132,000) for a foreign worker on an Irish trawler will appear before an Irish parliament committee this week.

Michael O’Brien, fisheries campaign lead at the Dublin office of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), will appear before the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Employment at the Oireachtas, Ireland’s houses of parliament.

The claim for EUR 114,000 (USD 132,000) is the highest of eight claims ITF has submitted to the Workplace Relations Commission, an independent body that adjudicates such claims. O’Brien told SeafoodSource the claims relate to non-payment of both overtime and Sunday bonus pay as well as non-payment for holidays.

Non-E.U. workers hired under Ireland’s Atypical Work Permit (ATS) scheme have been abused by trawler owners, O’Brien told SeafoodSource. Mainly from the Philippines and Egypt, the workers are effectively discouraged from complaining about conditions, said O’Brien, because their work permit is tied to the fishing firm that employs them.

Fishing companies, however, blame poor oversight of the scheme by the Irish government for its relatively low adoption by fishing firms.

Exploitation of migrant fishery workers was singled out by the United States when it placed Ireland on the Tier 2 Watchlist of the U.S. State Department’s 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of pgaborphotos/Shutterstock

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