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Safety last: Health, wealth, workers rights August 14, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Anyone following this story? That being the testimony at the Oireachtas Committee on COVID-19 and in particular the issue of meat processing plants? Prior notice for most HSA inspections until recently, an industry warning of price increases if testing isn’t quick enough, a workforce understandably ‘petrified’ of catching the disease, where 9 in 10 have no access to sick pay, where too many are forced to share accommodations, but also near uniquely unwilling to talk to the media or unions for fear of ‘retribution’. And the HSA is not notified as of a course when workers catch the virus. Could it be worse?

It could.

Mr Ennis also told TDs about some workers who were tested positive and brought to the CityWest facility in May, but who did not give contact tracing information because they did not understand what they were being asked or they were afraid they would put another worker out of the workplace.  

All told an exceedingly ugly situation where oversight appears insufficient and partial and it seems business is just business.

Where is public or workers health in all this?


1. tafkaGW - August 14, 2020

Cheap and profitable meat production is not controllable, and is only maintainable by a regime of terror against workers in the plants.

Shut that shit down for the duration of the Covid19 outbreak. Stop eating meat and you’ll contribute to preventing the spread as well as doing the climate a favour.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - August 14, 2020

It’s telling how this has been allowed to develop isn’t it? It takes a pandemic to reveal these conditions to a wider public


yourcousin - August 14, 2020

I would very much agree that most food in the west is underpriced for its true cost, both monetarily and environmentally. I also think that this pandemic, especially in the early stages highlighted the fallacy of our value of labor (ie bankers, developers etc vs service workers, nurses, etc). Hopefully this will have a long term effect of procuring better wages and working conditions throughout the industry. I know that here in Colorado the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Local 7) got a four dollar an hour raise and better safety and health conditions for plants in Greeley.

As I came up in the trades it was always, no work, no pay type wages. The union got us two weeks of vacation pay that came out to two weeks a year. As an apprentice we used this to pay ourselves when we went to school four times a year. Then later as a journeyman it was a twice a year payout which served as bill pay money and Christmas money (2nd payment came out on December 1st). In the last couple of years here my company has instituted a paid time off program for craft and paid holidays. Hopefully this is being replicated in other areas. And for Covid folks we’ve actually created a COVID 19 wage that can supplement income when folks self isolate.

It should come as no surprise that I would disagree with your assessment that we should “shut it down” though the industry is in dire need of top to bottom reform.


tafkaGW - August 14, 2020

Would we both be happy to see food production workers working in safe, well-unionised conditions producing quality and innovative plant- and fungus-based proteins?

As a stepping stone to publicly owned, democratically managed food production, natch 🙂

Liked by 1 person

yourcousin - August 14, 2020

We’re about 70% in agreement about well unionized safe work places as a stepping stone to democratically managed food production. So we’ll take the win and advance in diversity!

Liked by 1 person

2. Pangurbán - August 14, 2020

The department of agriculture is nominally the regulator of this sector but acts more like it’s shop steward

The breaches in social welfare law, admittedly complex have gone unnoticed by journalists. I mean the triangular relationship from Romania work in Ireland pay social:insurance in poland

Liked by 1 person

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