January 12, 2021
State must practice what it preaches in relation to remote working – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment and Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said the State must practice what it preaches where it comes to facilitating remote working after reports emerged that some public service employers are compelling workers to attend on-site.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said: 

“The last number of days have been worst since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis as infection rates spiralled out of control and hospitalisations increased exponentially. 

“Getting the virus back under control is a matter of life and death, and achieving this will once again take a mammoth effort from the public.“As we have seen throughout the Covid-19 crisis, the public have always risen to the challenge of combatting the virus and adhered to the public health regulations. 

“Workers in particular have made huge sacrifices and changes to their routines to comply with the public health restrictions. Many workers are now putting in a full day’s work from bedrooms, box rooms, children’s playrooms, or kitchen tables. 

“Unfortunately, workers are in a very vulnerable position as they are at the mercy of their employer or manager for direction around carrying out their work duties during the pandemic. 

“Thankfully, most managers and employers have complied with the public health advice and have allowed workers to work from home, where practicable. 

“Therefore, it is quite unfortunate that, as reported by the Trade Union – Fórsa, some public service employers are not adhering to Covid-19 rules and are compelling staff to attend the workplace despite the public health advice in place.  

“This is a sorry situation – the State must practice what it preachers where it comes to facilitating remote working. 

“The Tánaiste, as the Minister responsible for Workers’ Rights, must step in here and ensure the guidelines issued to the public service reflects the Government’s own public health advice in the strongest possible terms. 

“If this is not done, then these workers will continue to be compelled to attend their place of work by employers and managers, and this will undermine the collective public health effort and put workers and their families at risk.”

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