Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today said that workers and businesses need to be given clear instructions on what to do in a red weather warning situation.
Questioning the Minister in the Dáil this afternoon, the Limerick City TD said;
“Workers and businesses again found themselves in a situation of not knowing where they stood when a red weather warning was issued last week.
“In the aftermath of the last extreme weather event, Storm Ophelia, Sinn Féin brought forward legislation, the Extreme Weather (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018 that would bring clarity to this issue.
“Unfortunately Fine Gael have kept their head in the sand and refused to deal with the issue.
“Workers need to know where they stand in such a situation. Unfortunately some people tragically lost their lives on the roads travelling to work in Storm Ophelia, and we need to ensure this is not repeated.
“Businesses were equally concerned as what to do, and what to tell their staff. Concerns and questions about personnel health and safety, insurance, pay and holidays were wide-spread, leading to confusion for enterprises and anxiety for workers as to how much it could cost them personally. Guidance and clarity needs to be provided.
“Constituents of mine in Limerick told me of their employers making it clear they had to turn up for work, regardless of the weather warning, leaving them in very difficult positions of choosing between their personal safety and their job.
“Although many employers treat their staff very well in these situations, some made workers travel in dangerous conditions or are now forcing employees to take their annual leave or reduced pay.
“These severe weather phenomena do not occur often, so when they do happen, workers and businesses are rightly concerned and need guidance on what to do and what their rights and obligations are.
“The government need to work better with the opposition when we have solutions and ideas. I hope the government will now support the Sinn Fein Bill from Deputies Adams, Munster and Cullinane.”
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