Dominic Hannigan launches policy on supporting workers and employers to prepare for the “workplace of the future”

Issued : Tuesday 30 April, 2019

Helping workers adapt to automation and ensuring a “just transition” to a carbon-neutral economy are key priorities for Dominic Hannigan, the Labour Party’s European election candidate for the Midlands North West constituency.

Mr. Hannigan launched a policy paper, ‘How We Live and Work’, at The Mill, Drogheda, today (30.01.2019), in which he outlines a range of measures aimed at supporting workers and employers to prepare for the “workplace of the future”.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Hannigan said: “Increased automation, artificial intelligence, and the challenges posed by moving to a post-carbon economy are key challenges facing workers and employers across the Midlands North West. To protect jobs and ensure sustained development in the region, we need to prepare for the workplace of the future.

“Workers whose jobs are at risk of automation in the coming years must be supported to re-skill and upskill. Employers – and the State – have a duty to provide professional development opportunities to employees, if we’re going to meet this challenge head-on.”

Mr. Hannigan also spoke about the need to change employers’ mindsets to ensure workers have more flexibility and a better work / life balance.

“The old days of a 9-to-5 job for life are gone,” he said. “Technology has completely transformed how we live and work in recent decades, but workplaces have failed to keep up. Flexible working hours and remote working options need to become the norm for workplaces across the constituency – particularly in more rural areas.

“As an MEP, I will work to implement a Directive on Work / Life Balance that supports working parents and carers to contribute, both at home and at work. I will ensure the Directive includes minimum benchmarks for parental, paternity and carers’ leave; and the right to request flexible working arrangements.”

[ Download my How We Live and Work proposal. ]

Closing the Gender Pay Gap

Closing the gender opportunity gap is another key priority for the workplace of the future, according to Mr. Hannigan.

“Women are still underpaid for the work they do and underrepresented in leadership and management roles, compared to their male counterparts,” he said. “While we have made progress in addressing gender discrimination in workplaces, we still have a long way to go.

“As an MEP, I will campaign for a legally-binding EU Gender Equality Strategy, which will require Member States, including Ireland, to commit to and achieve measures and actions to end the gender pay gap – and which will address related issues, such as shared parental leave and access to adequate childcare supports.”

Other priorities included in Mr. Hannigan’s ‘How We Live and Work’ policy include reducing precarious employment and introducing a Living Wage.

“Precarious employment is poor quality, low-paid and offers little or no benefits in relation to healthcare and pensions,” he said. “It is a scourge on our economy and society. No matter what type of employment they are in – whether on a contract, freelancing, self-employed or as an employee – all workers from the Midlands North West deserve the same rights and protections.

“People in low-paid employment are struggling to make ends meet and pay for everyday expenses, dues to the high cost of living in Ireland. I support the Living Wage Technical Group’s proposal to introduce a Living Wage of €11.90 per hour, which will enable individuals to afford a socially acceptable standard of living.

“The nature of workplaces is changing dramatically, and we must ensure that workers do not suffer as a result.”

[Download my How We Live and Work proposal.]