Sinn Féin workers rights spokesperson Maurice Quinlivan TD today said construction companies must enforce social distancing guidelines or close down sites in order to protect the health and safety of workers and their families.
Deputy Quinlivan said;
“The health and safety of construction workers and their families must come first, and if social distancing cannot be realised on construction sites, they need to be shut down.
“I have been contacted by scores of concerned workers who are extremely worried about the lack of social distancing on sites across the State.
“While most people are now staying at home, most construction workers have no choice but to leave for work each day and risk bringing the virus home with them each evening. They have not been given the same protection as other sectors
“Most construction workers cannot take unilateral action to leave sites, as they are in a particularly vulnerable employment situation.
“Thousands are forced to work in bogus self-employment arrangements, massively limiting their rights, while apprentices have no choice but to follow the direction of their employer or lose their apprenticeship place after years of work.
“It’s not just the health and safety of construction workers that is now at risk, but also their families.
“Unite, SIPTU and other employees representative are now calling for this. The government cannot ignore the rights of these workers any longer.
“All non-essential construction sites should close if they cannot strictly enforce social distancing, and for essential sites that need to continue, workers need to be given protective gear in addition to staggered hours and breaks.”