Irish workers’ union calls for meat industry coronavirus taskforce
The Irish Servers, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union (SIPTU) has called for a specific coronavirus taskforce to be setup to investigate the spread of the virus in a number of meat processing plants.
SIPTU manufacturing division organiser, Greg Ennis, has called for the immediate creation of a ‘Farm to Fork’ team to deal with the spread of Covid-19, with more than 600 cases of the virus reported in plants across the country, including the death of one worker at Moy Park’s Dungannon site
Ennis said: “There is an urgent need for a taskforce involving all meat industry stakeholders to be set up by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. A sector specific strategy is long overdue for the meat industry to tackle the threat posed from Covid-19. Workers in meat plants are employed in close proximity to each other and this has almost certainly been a conduit for the spread of the virus. The living conditions of the many low paid workers in the industry is another contributory factor.
“A collective approach, encompassing elements of the recently agreed ‘Return to Work Protocol’ and other additional measures must be tailored for the meat industry to prevent a potentially disastrous situation emerging in plants across the country. The meat industry has become another front line in the fight against the virus and must be prioritised. We are asking the Minster for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to urgently establish a ‘Farm to Fork’ meat industry taskforce to counter this serious threat to workers, their families and their communities.”