Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley has called on the Irish government to clarify wage protections of for cross-border construction workers who are being effectively coerced into working in unsafe conditions.
The West Tyrone MP said:
“Cross-border workers, particularly those in the construction sector, are being told by unscrupulous employers that they won’t get paid if they don’t turn up for work.
“They are also being told they won’t be able to avail of income protections now being afforded to other workers.
“This means they are being forced to travel in often crowded work vans to Dublin with all the inherent health risks involved.
“This should not be happening and is in clear contravention of the medical advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“They are then in digs with other construction workers, often in cramped conditions with no opportunity for physical distancing.
“This is a recipe for disaster.
“These construction workers should not have to choose between working to put food on the family table and the risk of bringing Coronavirus into their family homes.
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called on the Irish government to close all non-essential construction sites.
“The plight of our cross-border construction workers further re-enforces the need for the Irish government to act now.”