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Workers’ Rights must be Protected during Status Red Alerts – Cullinane

1 March, 2018 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for workers’ rights, David Cullinane said today that the government’s refusal to provide leadership on businesses opening puts ideology over safety and is reckless in the extreme.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“It is utterly incredible that the Taoiseach believes the decision to open or close a business during a national weather emergency is a personal matter.

“We are talking about people's lives here. Despite this, Leo Varadkar refuses to provide government leadership and direction. He has essentially outsourced the government’s role to the private sector. This is the way he thinks. This is the way he sees the world.

“Today, we are hearing reports of non-essential health workers being threatened with a loss of holiday entitlements if they take the rational decision to stay at home during Storm Emma.

“This is the world that Leo Varadkar wants - a world where workers puts their lives at risk because their boss tells them to do so.

“It is the role of legislators to provide the legal framework for actions and decisions to be taken during national weather emergencies. 

“Sinn Féin has stepped up to the mark and produced a Bill that would do exactly that. Last month, myself and my colleagues in the Dáil Gerry Adams and Imelda Munster introduced the Extreme Weather Bill in the Dáil.

“In the event of a status red severe weather warning, all non-essential employees in places of employment subject to the alert are to stay away from their place of work until the alert ends, with no loss of holiday entitlements or pay. 

“The legislation would also impose penalties on those engaged in reckless behaviour in the midst of a severe weather warning. 

“I am very disappointed that, when my colleague Imelda Munster raised this issue on Tuesday in the Dáil, the Taoiseach refused to prioritise the draft legislation.

“Leo Varadkar needs to drop his Tory Boy pretensions and start acting in the interests of all citizens in this state.” 

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