NIFDA industry guidance is welcome but now must be converted into action in all workplaces
Unite Regional officer for the Food sector including employers such as Moy Park, Sean McKeever, welcomed the new industry guidance issued by the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Industry (NIFDA) today but called on employers to roll it out across all workplaces.
“Today’s NIFDA industry guidance only reflects that which was issued by the Public Health Agency at least a week ago on infection control measures for the food production sector – but nevertheless it is a welcome initiative. It must now be followed up by action from employers to make real workplace infection control protections for employees.
“While some employers are now working with us, there are many who aren’t doing anything meaningful. Indeed, some are issuing public statements saying that they have measures in place to ensure social distancing within their factories but we have evidence that this is simply not the case. Guidance around social distancing, slowing down and simplifying production has not been implemented in many workplaces.
“In most cases, significant health and safety improvements have only been achieved by workers’ collective organising through their trade unions so while improvements have been made in the likes of Moy Park and ABP Meats in Lurgan following walkouts, in ABP Meats in Newry management are refusing to engage with worker reps despite outstanding safety concerns. In Linden Foods, management are also refusing to engage and the Health & Safety Executive is refusing to act despite being provided photographic evidence of breaches.