Dawn Meats dispute shows need for clear Red Alert guidelines

Ged Nash TD
12 March 2018

Workers shouldn’t have to bear the costs of closed factories and it shows the need for clear red alert guidelines for employers says Labour spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Sen. Ged Nash, following the move by Dawn Meats to dock workers two days of annual leave after the snow storm.

Senator Nash said:

“The decision to dock workers two days of their holidays for a factory closure beyond their control is not good enough, and should be reversed, recognising the impact of what was an extreme weather event.

“Dawn Meats closed their sites on the Thursday afternoon and Friday in response to the red weather warning leaving workers with no choice. It is not the fault of staff that a status red warning was issued.

“This issue has been raised many times with the Government since Storm Ophelia last October, but we need to know when events like this happen, what specifically is expected of employers and employees in the event of a red alert affecting their area of work.

“Following the first ever Status Red warning in October a review was to be carried out of the State‚Äôs response and then a report was to be prepared and submitted to the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning.

“We were told that the report was then to be submitted to the Government in January 2018 but I understand this has now been delayed following the most recent storms.

“It’s clear that this is an exceptional and unpredictable event and that rank and file staff shouldn’t have to bear the cost of their workplace, office, shop or factory being closed.

“I welcome the decision of the HSE to award staff additional days of annual leave or time off in lieu to those who worked through the storm and that those who couldn’t get to work would be paid as normal.

“However it is apparent that clear guidelines, with legislative backing if needed, should be considered so that ordinary workers aren’t penalised for events outside their control.”

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