The Workers Party has echoed calls by the trade union movement and others for the immediate and enhanced protection of workers in all essential services.
It is very clear that many workers delivering essential services are being put at risk by their employers who are refusing to adhere to public health guidelines on social distancing and personal protection measures.
It is also clear that a number of companies whose businesses are not essential in the current crisis are continuing to trade and are putting the workforce at unnecessary and unacceptable risk.
If employers cannot protect their workforce they should close down immediately
The Party is calling on the Health and Safety Executive to enforce public health and government guidelines by ensuring full compliance with safety measures at work and is also calling for an immediate Executive Order to be enacted by the Assembly directed against those non essential firms which continue to trade. .
Workers providing essential services which are keeping our society function at this critical time are being put at serious risk through the lack of personal protection equipment and social distancing measures. Other workers re being told to report for work in non essential services and in dangerous and unhealthy conditions like some call centres and production lines.
Unionised workforces at least have power and leverage to effect change but many, many thousands of workers are in non-union firms and are at the mercy of employers who place the relentless pursuit of profit above health, well being and life .
Those who put their workforce at risk must be challenged and sanctione. Those who continue to trade without justification should be closed forthwith.
Such developments, however, must take place in the context of providing effective financial support measures to avoid mass redundancies and to ensure that jobs are protected and workers paid.