While there is much fanfair about job creation and the CSO figures, I raise this issue because people are facing the loss of permanent jobs that have good conditions, including holiday pay, entitlements, pension rights and everything that goes with those. This involves 530 employees in Xtra-vision, 1,000 workers in Tesco who were told that they had contracts that could be ripped up, and workers who were contracted to work for the ESB as meter readers for the past 50 years. That contract was sent out to tender and following that tendering process the contract was won and the workers who had a contract with the ESB were told that they can work for the companies that won the contract for half their pay.
Seemingly, Xtra-vision had Xtra-vision-HMV and in 2013 it set up another company, Xtra-vision-Entertainment. We saw that happen with Clerys and with other companies such as Connolly's Shoes, Paris Bakery and La Senza, where the workers had to lock themselves into a branch of the chain to get their proper payments. Xtra-vision has done the same thing and left its workers high and dry. The workers were told last November that they would get redundancy payments last week but on Tuesday we were told that the whole company is winding up and liquidators - some 166 - were sent in to wind down the company. Those workers were left with nothing; they were given no holiday or redundancy pay. They have mortgages to pay and families to feed and they have been given nothing. The State in terms of the taxpayer will have to pick up this bill. The 1,000 workers in Tesco have decent contracts and they are supported by the Mandate union. Were it not for the fact that this union is strong in Tesco, those workers would be facing dire consequences. They have been told they will be lose their overtime, morning pay allowance, shift allowance, etc.
John Douglas from Mandate, who appeared before an Oireachtas committee in 2013, said that unless directors are held responsible for what they do in regard to workers' rights, this will continue. We have seen that it has continued. What will the Minister do about directors who come into the country, set up shelf companies and use them to strip the assets of the company and then tell the workers they are not entitled to anything? The collective bargaining legislation is not strong enough when it comes to defending workers' rights. We on this side of the House called for such legislation to provide that unions should have a right of access to their members. We have been told by the workers that on notice boards in Tesco the notices from the union have been taken down and that the union can only talk to its members in the car parks.
This has to stop. It is a shame that this Government has done nothing about this over the past five years when there were plenty of opportunities to do so. We have seen too much of that happening, and it is still going on.