asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether provisions will be made analogous to those in the Treaty of Rome to compensate workers rendered redundant by reason of the effects of the proposed free trade agreement with Britain; and whether any contribution towards Irish redundancy payments will be paid by British firms or by the British Government.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Compensation for Redundant Workers.
The proposed redundancy payments scheme will be designed to meet the problems likely to arise in Irish circumstances. I am not aware of any provisions in the Treaty of Rome relating directly to redundancy payments, nor am I aware of any proposals for contributions towards such payments from either of the sources mentioned by the Deputy.
Does the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that there is provision in the Treaty of Rome for a retraining fund and that the moneys to provide this fund are available from contributions from all participating parties? Surely, in a free trade area with Britain, if certain industries here are to be completely wiped out by the opening up of our markets to British produce there should be a fund to contribute to the retraining of workers who will become disemployed.
The Deputy is making an argument rather than asking a question.
With respect, it is a question in relation to a fund under the Treaty of Rome. Such a fund exists, although the Parliamentary Secretary denies it.
I did not deny that at all.
That is a help.
What is a help?
That the Parliamentary Secretary does not deny it.
Stop being childish. I said in my reply that I am not aware of any provisions in the Treaty of Rome relating directly to redundancy payments. That is the position. There is provision in the Treaty of Rome for reimbursement in connection with retraining and resettlement and, in regard to the reconversion of industries, the maintenance of the level of wages of workers. That is not directly redundancy payment. I do not know what negotiations are going on but I am not aware that the subject matter of this question is the subject of any discussion.
Is there a redundancy payment during the transitional period? For instance, take a worker who is disemployed and who will be retrained for a new job under the Treaty of Rome. What is his position?
I do not think the present free trade talks touch on this.
Surely they should. Surely our Government should be seeking such provisions?
Is the Parliamentary Secretary satisfied that, when the workers in the car industry are affected, if the free trade talks are concluded satisfactorily, adequate provision will be made for retraining, redundancy pay and rehabilitation?
We are attending to the matter.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary give an assurance to the workers now that he is so satisfied?
We will give them an assurance that we are tackling the matter with the greatest urgency.
Question No. 39.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary give the assurance I have asked him to give?
I do not think he could give any assurance at the present stage.
No, one could not.