NIC-ICTU calls for safer and responsible workplaces for all workers

25 Mar 2020

Photo 01-11-2019, 11 28 54

Speaking after concerns raised by workers across all sector of the economy, including walk-outs over safety issues, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Owen Reidy expressed "the full support of the entire trade union movement those workers in Moy Park and ABP Meats today who felt compelled to walk out of work due to serious health and safety concerns.

"Workers should not be forced into this situation. The production of food is an essential business and should continue, alongside those other designated services. However, these enterprises are not so essential that their continued operation is worth the health and even lives of their staff, and everyone those workers come into contact with. Social distancing is justified in parks and on the streets and the science does not change behind the windows of offices and factories.  

"This is the thin end of the wedge if we do not see urgent action. The NI Executive and Assembly has the power to legislate on Employment Law matters if Westminster will not, and to enforce safe workplaces through its state agencies, such as the HSENI. 

"Joined up government now essential. Government needs to develop a process including themselves, unions and employers to address these issues across the labour market, in a forum which can identify problems and agree solutions with the urgency required. The NI Executive must act immediately otherwise Moy Park is the canary in the coalmine, alongside the tawdry response to the needs of precarious workers which is poisoning trust in government at a time when people need to be able to depend on responsible leadership."