Labor advocates claim Irish government inaction is preventing foreign fishers from receiving rightful compensation

Irish fishery workers examining a net.

Labor campaigners have accused the Irish government of reneging on a commitment to protect migrant fishery workers by not introducing legislative amendments it had promised unions it would implement four years ago.

The accusations hit a boiling point in relation to a case that an Egyptian migrant fisher named Elamir Elmadkhoum brought forth regarding long working hours. In response to Elmadkhoum’s filing, Ireland’s High Court in May stated the country’s Labour Court does not have jurisdiction to hear complaints related to working time breaches affecting fishers. Similarly, Ireland’s key labor dispute resolution body – the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) – also issued a decision of “no jurisdiction.”

This has set a precedent that has led to other complaints from migrant fishers employed on Irish trawlers being slapped with a “no jurisdiction” decision.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which has been vocal about Irish government inaction in the past, is now helping Elmadkhoum seek a judicial review in his case.

Michael O’Brien, fisheries campaign lead for Ireland at the ITF, explained to SeafoodSource that his union received governmental promises in 2019 that migrant fishers would be .... 

Photo courtesy of Mick Harper/Shutterstock


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