Approximately 80 employees at ABP Meats in Lurgan, who are deemed ‘essential’, refused work today over fears for their safety, according to Unite the Union Ireland.
In a statement, Susan Fitzgerald, Unite regional coordinating officer said: “Unite has been informed that the workers are demanding adequate social distancing of two-metres be facilitated and enforced and other measures be adopted to keep workers as separated as possible and deep-cleans are conducted on work stations where workers have self-isolated with coronavirus symptoms.”
She said that in the context of a pandemic, where workers are feeling unsafe at work, there needs to be clear government enforcement of Public Health Agency coronavirus guidelines to ensure their safety. “What is happening here is entirely foreseeable.”
“In particular, there can be no institution of a two-tier health and safety regime of protective measures for workers in the food sector,” Fitzgerald added.
“Government inaction is going to cost lives. There must be a full lock-down of non-essential companies and where workers are deemed essential, every possible measure should be taken and enforced to protect them – or else they shouldn’t be there,” she concluded.