Trade union Siptu has called for quicker testing and results for Irish meat plant workers at risk from Covid-19.
Representatives from Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the workers’ organisation held talks in Dublin to discuss the outbreaks at plants in the midlands.
Siptu has called for the acceptance of a charter fully outlining adequate infection prevention procedures.
While meat maybe a perishable product, workers are notSiptu
Manufacturing division organiser Greg Ennis said: “In what was a frank and robust meeting it was agreed that Siptu and Meat Industry Ireland (MII) representatives will seek to engage with the HSE to discuss the necessary improvements to testing protocol at meat plants.
“This will focus on delivering quicker testing and results with a view towards protecting meat workers from infection while maintaining continuity in production.”
He said Siptu members remained extremely concerned about the situation in the Irish meat processing industry, with “unacceptably high” rates of infection of workers running at approximately 10%.
“While meat maybe a perishable product, workers are not.”
He added there was nothing wrong with an industry making reasonable profits but this cannot be at the expense of workers’ safety.
“Siptu is committed to ensuring that meat industry workers will receive fair recognition for the work that they do in this labour intensive industry, by way of improved pay and sick pay.
“The existing relatively poor terms and conditions are proving to be key vectors in the transmission of Covid-19 in the meat industry.”