Press Release

SIPTU calls for agreement on safety measures before construction return to work

Date Released: 30 April 2020

SIPTU representatives have raised serious concerns with proposed return to work measures for the construction industry and called for agreement on a protocol for the sector which prioritises the safety of workers.

SIPTU TEAC Division Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “Worker safety must come first and foremost in relation to any plans for a return to work. Any resumption of work in the construction sector before a national return to work protocol is agreed would be a dangerous and reckless measure.

“Employers in the construction industry have issued their own protocol in an effort to force the Government into a hasty move in relation to the industry. This is an employer document that has had no input whatsoever from worker representatives. Safe ways of working in the construction industry should be agreed between employers and union organisers so due consideration is given to how they will operate in practice. It is only by doing this that such measures can be accepted.

“It cannot be just what employers want. Workers' voices must be heard because it is their safety and that of their families which will be on the line. If it can’t be done safely then it can’t be done at all and that is the new reality of work now.”

SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Regan, said: “New ways of working safely can be found and agreed but only if workers’ voices are part of the equation through their unions. Current working arrangements are governed by the terms of the Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the industry and any new arrangements must be compatible with this. SIPTU representatives will rigorously hold employers to account where safe working practices are not agreed with worker representatives before sites are re-opened. We will also not accept any situation where working practices are not within the parameters of the SEO for the industry.”

 


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