As Business look for a Hasty Return, Unite calls for Caution

Locker and changing room facilities for staff at a Dublin restaurantUnite also states that ordinary citizens must not be made pay all the cost of this emergency as before

April 9th: Unite Trade Union today spoke (Thursday) of its concern that employer representatives such as IBEC and the Restaurant Association of Ireland are calling on Government to outline its strategy for the ending of the public health emergency and have also asked that Government ‘must detail means by which they plan to reboot the economy and begin the recovery’. 

Unite Senior Officer Brendan Ogle remarked; ‘These calls are not only being made while COVID 19 is still rampant, and no vaccine has been developed, but no steps have been taken to address the key public health issues in workplaces. In one particularly bad example Unite has members in a workplace with no toilet or wash hand basin who are campaigning for these basic sanitation measures for a year and are being intimidated for doing so. An entire change of mindset from Government, Employers and Regulators is required as we work through, and ultimately exit this emergency.’ 

Unite also believe that ‘back to normal’ is not good enough after this emergency and standards have to rise. Ogle continued; ‘Some of workers’ needs are very basic including, adequate provisions for hygiene, proper toilet and bathroom facilities and assurances that all workers are given their entitlement to adequate rest breaks. But there is also a transparent need now for a new regime of workplace health and safety inspections, and Trade Unions can assist the state in playing a significant role in making sure that satisfactory inspections take place regularly in all workplaces including, but not specific to constructions sites and restaurants cafes and other hospitality outlets.’ 

A picture of locker and changing room facilities for staff at a Dublin restaurant is available for download here. 

Unite has also expressed concerns that workers, their families and their communities should not be the ones left with the cost of this emergency as happened after the 2008 financial crash. Dr. Conor McCabe, who is assisting Unite in its policies, in this regard stated: 

Once again private business have been quick to seek state intervention in an emergency. The support given is welcome, however it must be remembered that the last time a similar economic intervention was made to bailout bankers it was the ordinary workers, their families and communities who ended up paying the price.  This crisis may be different, but there is no business driven or financial requirement for it to be followed by another period of ideologically-driven austerity. That resulted in public services, including our health suffering the type of structural damage that is now putting many lives at risk. As we emerge from this crisis we have to seize the chance to make the changes that will benefit all in our society.’ 

Unite will be working hard with our members, other trade unions and  community groups to ensure that key sectors of the economy are supported and re-structured to promote good sustainable rights-based employment while driving economic recovery. Unite is determined to see that our public services including: health, transport, education, and childcare are adequately supported and invested in to the benefit of all workers and society more widely. 

Ogle finished: ‘Unite will campaign in whatever way is necessary to ensure that, after this emergency, we live in a better, fairer and more equal society where people can come together in their collective interests. 

The demands of the elite few must now give way to the needs of the many.’

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