First Dáil defeat for new government as workers' rights motion passes

Government counter-motion to Labour proposal is defeated by 58 votes to 78

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The government has lost its first vote in the new Dáil term.

Fine Gael and its independent allies were defeated last night after putting forward an amendment to a Labour Party motion on workers' rights.

The Labour motion - which urged the government to increase the minimum wage, introduce a living wage of €11.50 per hour across the public sector, end so-called "if and when" contracts and tackle bogus self-employment - was passed with the support of Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.

The motion also proposed the implementation of recommendations set out in the review of employment law commissioned last year after over 400 Clerys staff in Dublin were let go without notice when the store closed.

Speaking last night, former Labour leader Joan Burton accused the new Clerys owners of maintaining a "zen-like silence while the workers were casually dispossessed of their livelihoods with minimum notice".

"This was predator capitalism working as social vandalism," she said. 

The government counter-motion was defeated by 78 votes to 58, highlighting the vulnerability of the new minority administration.

An alternative AAA-PBP amendment - calling for an hourly minimum wage of €12, among other measures - also failed to pass.