Ahead of the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Dáil debate this evening, the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) calls on all members of the committee to ensure political oversight of the meat sector and protection for meat factory workers.
Edel McGinley, Director of MRCI said “People working to get vital food into our homes during this crisis deserve to have employers and a government that prioritise their safety and mitigate their exposure to Covid-19. Many workers still do not feel safe at work, with huge concerns over a back slide in Covid-19 health and safety measures. Line speed and close proximity of workers means that physical distancing on some factory floors is not possible.”
She continues, “The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that these essential workers have had to face even poorer working conditions putting themselves at risk. Too much responsibility was given to a sector who have demonstrated time and time again that it does not prioritise the wellbeing of their workforce.”
To date there have been 52 outbreaks in meat processing plants, accounting for 1,768 cases with 38 workers hospitalised, and 11 in ICU.
Next week MRCI will be releasing damning research that demonstrates the urgent need for structural change in the sector.
Ms McGinley continued, “What our research shows is that many of the failings that enabled the virus to spread existed long before the virus took hold. We are calling for the establishment of a Joint Oireachtas Sub-Committee made up of members from the Business Committee and the Committee on Agricultural and the Marine, to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Covid-19 and MRCI’s forthcoming research.”
Caroline França – 083 888 9185
Edel McGinley – 087 748 5695