Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Bar workers threat of legal action over smoking goes to the crux of the issue

13 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O Dowd has welcomed the announcement that bar workers are threatening legal action over the right to work in a smoke free environment.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The announcement that bar staff are taking part in tests to establish their Lung capacity after a shift in a smoke filled bar, compared to a bar worker from the south who works in smoke free environment, in a move which could see legal action by bar workers, goes to the very crux of why smoking in public places should be 'banned'.

"Bar and hotel workers have every right to take legal action to protect their health, why should these workers be any different from other workers whose rights to work in an environment that does not damage their health is protected in Law. Many of our bar workers and hotel staff are young and low paid; we should not expect them to harm their health as well.

"Legislation in the South was brought into protect workers health in the work place, it was not about punishing smokers, certainly it also acts as another incentive to smokers to stop.

"Direct rule Minister Angela Smith will have to act sooner rather than later, to protect the health of all the workers in our society, the evidence is overwhelming, working in a smoke filed environment, kills. ENDS

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