Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said measures are required to mitigate the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on businesses and workers.
The party’s economy spokesperson said:
“The coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic is having, and will continue to have, far-reaching impacts on workers and businesses.
“It is vital as we respond to this public health emergency, that measures to support our businesses, and to protect and support workers, are put in place.
“Over the past few days I have written to the Economy Minister to highlight a number of important issues including:
the need for access to credit and financial support for businesses;
the need for measures to alleviate the immediate intensive pressure on retailers as a result of panic bulk buying;
that agency workers do not have contractual sick leave and have unequal access to sick allowances;
the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and medical advice on migrant workers;
the need for employers to ensure employees, particularly in shops, restaurants and other frontline services, have access to protective measures including sanitiser.
“I have also received responses from a number of banks about measures they are putting in place including waiving fees for missed payments, payment holidays on loans/mortgages and emergency access to fixed term savings.
“My party colleague the Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey has taken steps to ensure that statutory sick pay and other benefits can be accessed straight away and without requiring a sickline from a GP.
“The Economy Minister must now bring forward comprehensive measures, including legislative changes if necessary, to support businesses, workers and the local economy.
“It is also important to highlight that we all have a role to play in being personally responsible, there is absolutely no need to panic/bulk buy.
“While it should go without saying we must all be respectful toward those workers in shops and other outlets.”