March 27, 2020
Workers health must be prioritised over profit – Hazzard

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has called for workers health and well-being to be prioritised over profit as some businesses flaunt Public Health Agency guidelines.

The South Down MP said:

“I have been contacted by workers across numerous industries that are being effectively forced to work in unsafe conditions that do not meet social distancing guidelines.

“This is totally irresponsible by the employers and amounts to a shameful exploitation of workers. It cannot continue.

“Those businesses that are essential and remain open must implement the Public Health Agency guidance on social distancing. 

“All non-essential businesses – meaning those that are not contributing to the effort against COVID19 or providing an irreplaceable community service such as food and essentials – should close immediately.

“There is financial support for PAYE and self-employed workers, this will see workers receiving 80% of their wage if they are not in work. I would encourage businesses and self-employed workers to avail of this.  

“In the coming days, there will be enforcement action taking against employers that are placing profit over the health and well-being of workers and their families.

“Remaining open and not following the PHA guidelines will ultimately facilitate the spread of COVID19 and place an increased burden on our already strained healthcare workers. 

“This is a time for solidarity amongst all sections of society – it is not a time for selfish and shallow practices.”

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