Kildare North TD Reada Cronin
Kildare North TD, Reada Cronin, says some workers in her area are forced to work onsite in non-essential jobs and fear complaints will bring a P45.
Deputy Cronin said government’s rules on what constitutes ‘essential work’ are too wide, too lax, too open to interpretation
Deputy Cronin who raised the matter in the Dail yesterday said she has referred the situation in our meat Plants to the Health and Safety Authority in the past but workers contacting her now work in small operations. “They are frightened of losing their jobs and their ability to keep a roof over their heads. They are worried about being identified as ‘complainers’ or ‘troublemakers.”
Deputy Cronin said these workers are easily identifiable and that Minister Damien English’s party does not have a good record in how it treats workers who raise their heads above the parapet.
Deputy Cronin added: “We are now in the culture whereby even doctors can have their competence and stability questioned when they speak out. Just today, there are media reports of a doctor being ordered on paid leave and referred to Occupational Health after speaking out on vaccination rollout where they work. What hope do lesser-paid workers have when their working conditions are frequently precarious anyway ?”
“People feel exposed and fragile. You only have to look at Sergeant Maurice McCabe and Prison Officer Noel McGree to see how people who speak up are treated by those in authority.”
Deputy Cronin said:“In a virus crisis, in a Level 5 Lockdown, browsing for a lampshade or can of paint, cannot and should not qualify as an essential activity. We should not be putting workers’ health at risk by demanding they show up to work for this or anything like it.”
She said it was not people who were the problem in the spread of the virus, but the Government rules.“The responsible people are doing their bit. It is the rules which are wrong. I am calling on the government to re-examine - and urgently - what constitutes essential work, essential opening.”