Migrant Rights Group are to meet Taoiseach to discuss about matters concerning the meat factory workers.
The group also wants to discuss the establishment of a task force to evaluate the industry. The number of Covid-19 cases among the meat /poultry farm workers are escalating.
As per the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, in the 18 days up to 15 August about 330 covid cases were confirmed.
A total of 1,445 cases were associated with 28 meat / poultry factories across the country. The number also includes community cases which were caused from one of the outbreaks cases from the factory workers.
These numbers are likely to be much higher than the figures published by HSPC.
Workers expressed their worries over PPE, social distancing, transport etc. Despite many workers being sick, the speed on production line has not hampered.
One worker said that the production in the factories has increased despite many workers are on leave. With the absence of enough workers, there is a huge burden on the shoulders of others. One worker has to do the work of 2-3 people.
Even though the situation is like this, the speed of the work hasn’t changed a bit, it is functioning in phase.
They are not in a position to complain since they are being threatened to be thrown out of job either by replacing them over by closing down the factory.
Meat Industry Ireland states that the clusters have been reduced to four from 20 and they are trying to reduce the Covid-19 transmission as much as possible. They are confident about the standards at what they operate.
“We are happy for the Workplace Relations Commission, the Health and Safety Authority, and any other relevant state agency to inspect members’ facilities unannounced as we are confident of the standards at which we operate.” It said.
They assure that the primary meat processing abides by the same employment laws as every other economic sector.
Considering the concerns that are being raised continuously Sinn Féin’s pains Louise O’Reilly wants MRCI and the unions to give explanation to the Dail Special Covid-19 Committee.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said what is going on in meat processing plants is “disgraceful”.
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy said that there is no clarity in their claims about the way the testing is being carried out in the food processing factories.
“Concerns also remain as to the exact protocols in place to manage outbreaks in meat plants themselves. From our committee exchange, it seems that the HSE are hiding behind supposed tailored responses and the announcement of new frameworks.” He said.
He also said “It is bizarre that all of the information we have received regarding the recent outbreaks in meat plants is coming from the meat factories themselves rather than from the Health Authorities. This needs to change.”