Geraghty-Smith proposes flexible working laws to ease commuter chaos

Published on: 17 January 2020


Meath Councillor Deirdre Geraghty-Smith is calling for a change in employment law to allow employees to work more flexible hours.

Pointing to the increasingly chaotic commuter conditions facing Meath residents daily, the Fianna Fáil Meath East candidate has said progressive new work practises are long overdue and could make a big difference to commuters.

“As trains and buses become more and more packed, commuting from Meath to Dublin has become incredibly stressful and often unworkable for many people and their families. In the absence of any sensible planning or investment from Irish Rail and Bus Éireann, and the absence of suitable measures from the outgoing Government, we need to start looking at work practices,” she said.

“Too many employees are tied to strict 9-5 hours and have no flexibility in their travel times. The bottom line is that there are not enough high-quality jobs in Meath.  The government’s complete failure on broadband has left far too many areas, homes and businesses without access to high quality broadband. As a result, thousands of Meath residents are travelling to Dublin for work. They are fighting for space on the same crammed trains and buses daily. Or they are stuck in traffic jams that are growing year on year.  It is impacting on family life and on the general health and well-being of commuters.

“A simple change in employment law could make a big difference. Legislation on flexible working hours has proved successful in other countries – benefiting both the employees and employers.

“All it requires is a legislative “right to request” which would put the obligation on employers to accommodate flexible working arrangements where possible and reasonable.  With rapid advancements in technology, many employees find themselves working off-site and out of hours.  There has to be a benefit to this for employees too.

“We saw zero vision or leadership from the outgoing Government on this issue. Fine Gael in government failed completely to modernise work practices in line with technological advancements and the realities of modern life. If a system of flexible working hours can work in Australia and the UK, it can work here. While it won’t solve our public transport issue – which requires increased investment and proper planning – it will certainly go some way into easing what has become far too stressful a commute for people in Meath and across the Greater Dublin Area.”

 

 

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