By Suzanne Pender
AS second waves of Covid-19 start to emerge across the globe, People Before Profit councillor Adrienne Wallace is urging the government to do more and resist pressure from big business to return to ‘business as normal’, when it is still not safe to do so.
Cllr Wallace said “The people have done well in pushing down Covid-19 through social distancing. But business pressure could unleash a second wave. The best example of this is Ryanair. Medical advice suggests that people should not go on non-essential travel, but Ryanair is running a huge number of flights in and out of the country, risking public health in the pursuit of profits. The government must stand up to profit-hungry companies in order to clamp down on any possibility of a second wave in Ireland, especially as we see Covid-19 numbers spike across the world.”
Cllr Wallace believes the government should adopt a number of measures. She said: “We need to make masks freely available on all public transport and to enforce mandatory wearing for those travelling on public transport. We also need to invest in proper testing at airports and to ensure every passenger is tested. For those who are positive, a place to quarantine should be provided by the state.”
Cllr Wallace added that there is excess pressure on workers to return to workplaces, but urged anyone who feels there is any danger in a workplace to walk out. She said: “We have to remember to prioritise our safety alongside the safety of our co-workers. If bosses are not implementing HSE guidelines properly, workers should try to organise themselves and walk out until it is safe to go to work.”
She also called on the government to establish proper sick pay schemes for every employee. “The recent clusters in some meat factories highlighted how workers who felt unwell were forced to go to work because they could not afford to miss a day’s pay. This is a Victorian-era policy that must change. We need to fight for decent sick pay for every worker in Ireland.”