Workers need confidence in workplace safety - Patricia King

28 Apr 2020

RTE Mic

General Secretary Patricia King said workers were risking their lives going to work, providing the services we need during the Covid-19 crisis. Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland programme she saluted workers on International Workers Memorial Day and remembered those 46 who had lost their lives last year, and the health staff who died as a result of Covid-19 this year.

The General Secretary said that Congress had made a comprehensive submission to Government to seek a national protocol for the health and safety of all workers. This included measures to ensure physical distancing, hygiene and possible roster changes to ensure that workplaces were "Covid secure". Currently Congress was engaging with Government on this submission and it  was hoped to see a draft of a national protocol in the next few days, employers had made proposals as well, she said. Patricia King said the Health and Safey Authority as a regulator needs to be very involved in this process, with workers on the ground acting as key representatives alongside Management reps to ensure that practises are implemented - workers need confidence in workplace safety, she said.

Asked about the Construction Industry and a possible return to work the General Secretary said she was concerned about self-regulation with no provision at all for workers reps on the ground to link-in with the  HSA. She added that re-opening of workplaces has to be done safely and a national protocol. She said it isn't good  enough for one sector to dictate their view (on a return to work) which must be done on a tight national protocol.