Remote Working has potential to be a win-win for Rural Communities and Workers’ Quality of Life

29 Mar 2021

Remote Working

Responding to the launch of the new five-year strategy Our Rural Future, Irish Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King said: “It took a pandemic to fully awaken us to the potential for remote working. While the ‘working from home experiment’ has been fraught for some workers, for very many it has been a positive experience and there is now an appetite among our members to maintain the option of work remotely post Covid-19.

She said: “The measures contained in today’s rural development strategy to facilitate and support workers to live and work remotely in rural Ireland take a big step in the right direction to improve many workers’ quality of life. Freeing up workers from their long commutes will ensure more time for family, friends, hobbies, sports and involvement in the wider community.”

Congress, however is clear that remote working must be a voluntary option and should not be imposed on workers.

In recent days, Managing Partner of Stratis Consulting Brendan McGinty suggested that the boom in remote working opens up the possibility of a return to a “modern version piecework” – with it to be decided “if for certain roles there should be a movement towards pay for work done rather than for time”.

Any such move will be vigorously resisted by Congress.

Ms King said: “The trade union movement is fully committed to ensuring workers’ hard-won rights are preserved when working remotely, that protections are fit for purpose and that the post Covid-19 world of remote working does not lead to greater work precarity and casualisation.

“We have raised this repeatedly in our consultations in the LEEF forum with Government and employer representative bodies. Congress and trade union reps around the country will ensure that any attempt to usher in a return to piecework will be vigorously resisted.”

ENDS

Conor Kavanagh, Communications Office, 086 811 66 07  conor.kavanagh@ictu.ie