Press Centre

New Study Reveals 40% of Migrant Care Workers Feel Discriminated Against

PRESS RELEASE: 19 November 2012

A new study carried out by Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) identified that 40% of migrant care workers experience discrimination in their workplace.  The study, which is being discussed at a seminar in Dublin today, also points to worrying levels of non-compliance with basic employment law.

120 care workers participated in the report from over 11 different national and ethnic origins.  The discrimination identified included racial abuse, unfair allocation of tasks and jobs, and not being allowed to join a trade union. Anele Jakiel a care worker stated “if you speak out as a migrant worker about poor conditions you are sometimes told to go back to your home country or join the dole queue. This leaves us with very little choice but to put up with poor conditions of employment”

Care workers who contributed to the report were worried about standards and conditions for both those receiving care and support, as well as for care workers.  Gráinne O’Toole who conducted the research said, “there is a real danger that without robust regulation and monitoring, including employment rights, the risk of abuse and neglect is high.  She went on to say, “care work is one of the most important jobs in our society, yet the evidence shows that those who carry out this valuable work face unacceptable levels of exploitation and discrimination.”

Siobhan O’Donoghue of MRCI said “there is a remarkable level of confusion and ambiguity surrounding the provision of paid care work in Ireland.  Experience points to very real dangers and shortfalls in relation to upholding the human rights and dignity of both the recipients and providers of care.  We need to be vigilant and proactive to avoid a race to the bottom in what is one of the most important areas of work in our society.”