Connect Trade Union has called for the wearing of face masks to be made mandatory for workers on construction sites in order to stop the spread of Covid-19 and that this essential safety equipment should be provided by their employers.
Connect Trade Union Assistant General Secretary, Brian Nolan, said: “In light of recent workplace clusters of Covid-19 infection we are of the opinion that face masks should now be made mandatory for all construction sites. Construction sites are areas where considerable amounts of workers congregate and where social distancing is often very difficult to maintain. Workers should be provided with suitable facemasks and other essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they arrive to a construction site each day.
“This is clearly an essential move if we are to prioritise the safety of workers and their families, it will also prevent any avoidable closures of construction sites and the resulting damage to the industry and wider economy. In order to achieve this essential safety measure the Government should immediately include the construction sector and mechanical and electrical contracting sectors in the list of areas of life where face coverings are mandatory.
“Clients and contractors have a duty of care to the industry and the country and should cover the cost of this essential safety equipment. We are also calling upon the Construction Industry Federation to support this move and any other initiative that protects workers and their families. If employers really value the well-being of their workers, they will not deny them this basic piece of PPE which must become as common place as hard hats or a hi-vis vests on sites. No life should be put at risk by going to work”.
He added: “Our union has taken a proactive approach to protecting our members and their families in recent weeks by distributing thousands of Connect branded reusable face masks along with ballot papers. These ballot papers concern the vote on industrial action by workers in the construction, mechanical and electrical sectors in order to protect their terms and conditions in light of the decision of the High Court on in June to strike down the legalisation supporting Sectoral Employment Orders.
“Our organisers have also visited building sites across the country to distribute face masks.”
Connect Trade Union are conducting their ballot until close of business on the 31st August 2020, details can be found on www.connectunion.ie
For further information contact:
Connect Trade Union Assistant General Secretary, Brian Nolan: 086 606 9280
Click here to view the Letter to National Ballot Papers
Image of Connect branded facemasks below: