August 20, 2020
Workers’ rights an irrelevancy to Varadkar and this government – Louise O’Reilly TD

Speaking this afternoon, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment, and Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has blasted the Tánaiste and the government; stating that they have done the absolute bare minimum to protect workers in spite of the recent spikes in Covid19 cases.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“When the government announced new Covid-19 measures on Tuesday, the majority of people expected to hear a list of robust protections for workers, especially in sectors such as meat and food processing. 

“However, what we got was a shambolically communicated list of contradictory measures that sought to punish sports teams and spectators at sporting events. 

“To this minute, the public and businesses do not know what a lot of the measures mean, and to who and how they apply. 

“In the midst of this all the Tánaiste, the person responsible for workers’ rights, ran for the hills. 

“His role in Tuesday’s debacle has been a microcosm of his role as Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment to date – not lifting a finger and then hiding from any responsibility. 

“Amidst all the confusion, one thing was clear from Tuesday’s press conference and announcements – this government does not care about workers or their health and safety. 

“The Tánaiste should have made himself available to explain why no additional protections were forthcoming for workers in food processing and other industries. 

“The government guidance states ‘Unless it is absolutely essential for an employee to attend in person, they should work from home’, but across the state there are workers in offices who can work from home, but whose employers, for whatever reason, have not allowed them to work remotely. 

“All workers, whether they be in meat plants, care homes, building sites, or office blocks in the IFSC, deserve to be protected from this virus. 

“Unfortunately for workers, the Tánaiste, the man responsible for ensuring such protection, has shown no interest in protecting workers. However, this does not come as a surprise given he has spent most of his political career attacking and attempting to undermine workers’ rights.”

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