Congress warns that safety cannot be compromised as workers gradually return to the workplace

4 Jun 2020


Patricia King, General Secretary of the ICTU said today, “It is crucial as we move to Phase 2 that we ensure the re-opening of the economy is done in a safe manner and in line with public health guidance”.  She was speaking on the eve of the likely cabinet decision to move to Phase 2 as we gradually emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.

The General Secretary said “now more than ever we must re-double our focus and ensure that as workers return to their various workplaces they are guaranteed a safe and secure working environment.

The recently negotiated National Return to Work Safely Protocol, which is mandatory in every employment, irrespective of its size, must be the cornerstone of any re-opening. The General Secretary underlined the following necessary measures:

  • Risk assessments must be carried out
  • Worker safety representatives must be appointed
  • The state, through the offices of the Health and Safety Authority, the statutory body for safety in the workplace, must ensure that the protocol is adhered to in full

Patricia King said “we have heard many calls in recent times from various sectoral business groups pushing for a speed up of the re-opening. Workers and their families and the entire community have made huge sacrifices during this pandemic. Sadly many have lost loved ones.

While progress has been made, we cannot cut corners and compromise on workplace safety. The trade union movement insists that all of the elements in the safety protocol, including the worker representative infrastructure, are adhered to and are seen as an enabler to the re-opening of a more secure and safer economy.

We must use this crisis as an opportunity to look at workplace safety through a different lens. There can be no going back to unsafe systems of work or unsafe workplaces,” concluded Ms. King.

Contact :Conor Kavanagh Congress Communications Office 0868116607