Council of Europe finds Ireland in Breach of Labour Rights Obligations

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has noted with concern the Council of Europe findings that Ireland continues to be breach of its Labour Rights Obligations under the Revised European Social Charter (‘the Charter’).

The Charter is a binding human rights treaty that Ireland ratified in 2000.

Ireland has been judged as non-compliant with the Charter in areas that include: failure to ensure a “decent standard of living” for young workers on minimum wage; excessive restrictions on the right to strike, including that denied to the Gardaí and; for “manifestly unreasonable” notice periods for workers and civil servants.

The ECSR further held that the situation in Ireland regarding the right to organise does not conform with the Charter, in that certain closed shop practices are authorised by law, and domestic law does not does not protect all workers against dismissal on grounds of trade union membership or involvement.

In its latest report, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) published these Conclusions in respect of 33 States, including Ireland, on the articles of the Charter relating to Labour Rights.

The report directly cites and references our submission in July 2022 with the ECSR concluding today that that the State continues to be in breach of many of its Labour Rights obligations affecting our most vulnerable workers.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

 “The Council of Europe clearly states that in many areas Ireland is failing to protect all its workers equally and adequately. Workers’ rights are crucial to ensuring that many other rights, such as health and housing, can be accessed.

 “In our current cost-of living and housing crisis, people working long hours at minimum or low wage, with precarious job security, often lacking the right to strike or unable to access the protection of a union are extraordinarily vulnerable to poverty, mental health problems or homelessness.

 “We reiterate our concern that Ireland must act to properly protect economic, social and cultural rights in Irish domestic law, and to honour fully Ireland’s international commitments.

 We again recommend that the incorporation of these rights into our Constitution would provide a bulwark for the protection of the most vulnerable workers and their families.”




Notes to Editors:


The ECSR is a regional human rights body that oversees the protection of certain economic and social rights in most of Europe.  It is unique among regional human rights mechanisms for its collective (as opposed to individual) complaint mechanism, and the flexibility it allows States in deciding which provisions of the Revised European Social Charter (‘the Charter’) to accept.


The Labour Rights assessed by the ECSR included:

  • the right to just conditions of work
  • the right to a fair remuneration
  • the right to organise
  • the right to bargain collectively
  • the right to information and consultation
  • the right to take part in the determination and improvement of the working conditions and working environment, the right to dignity at work
  • the right of workers’ representatives to protection in the undertaking and facilities to be accorded to them
  • the right to information and consultation in collective redundancy procedures


The ECSR Conclusions can be accessed at


For further information, please contact:

Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 852 9641 / 087 468 7760

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC


Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.