McGrath Says Workers Rights Must Be Protected

Tearing down the NI Assembly will set back workers rights says South Down MLA Colin McGrath

Tearing down the NI Assembly will set back workers rights says South Down MLA Colin McGrath

South Down SDLP MLA Colin McGrath has said threats to tear down the Northern Ireland Assembly will have a major impact on workers rights and negatively affect everyone across the North.

He was speaking at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Conference at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Tuesday.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath.

During his speech Mr McGrath laid out the SDLP’s ambitious post-pandemic plan for workers, but said no progress could be made if certain parties collapsed the Assembly to pursue their own narrow interests.

The South Down MLA added: “The SDLP has ambitious plans to reform and reimagine the future of work and protect workers in the North, particularly given the light shone on the plight of many during the coronavirus pandemic.

“For the last 18 months workers have been expected to be flexible and employers cannot simply expect to return to the pre-pandemic status quo.

“We support the right to remote and flexible working as a default and the right to switch off so that workers are able to maintain a work-life balance and protect their mental health.

“The SDLP also supports piloting the introduction of four-day weeks to increase productivity and reduce burnout, alongside trialling Universal Basic Incomes and Universal Basic Services to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. 

“None of these proposals will be possible if the devolved institutions at Stormont are collapsed again. Our people cannot afford any more wasted years, we need politicians at Stormont fighting for the issues that matter to our people. The last time the Assembly collapsed hospital waiting lists got longer, our school estate crumbled and working families had their budgets stretched to breaking point. 

“Those thinking of tearing this place down rather than building it back up should think long and hard about the consequences of those actions, the price of powerlessness and the impact of diminished public services at a time like this.“