PBP to tell government “Workers will not pay for the Covid-19 fallout” in Dáil today

Workers protest in USA

Hospitality sector workers must be protected if economy to open up again.

Childcare needed for all workers especially frontline workers.

People Before Profit TDs today outlined what they would be raising with the Ministers for European Affairs, Tourism and Children when the Dáil sits later today.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD, who will question the Minister for European Affairs, will say: “There are worrying signs that the EU and our own government are planning a return to the failed policies of austerity to pay for the Covid-19 crisis.

“It has been very concerning to hear comments from the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Social Protection about the scaling back or ‘tapering’ of the Covid-19 €350 payment. Similarly, the Minister for Health insisting that the old two-tier health service with its enormous waiting lists, will be making a comeback and the scandalous situation where nurses, protecting us all, have not been given their pay awards and new nurses being recruited are being given temporary agency contracts.

“The weight of the bank bailout was put on the backs of workers in this country, a decision which people are still feeling the scars of today. The failure of the government to intervene to protect Debenhams workers who have been so badly mistreated by their employer is another example that suggests that Fine Gael have not changed and are not learning the lessons of the current crisis.

“People Before Profit want to set down a clear marker that working people and the key public services on which we more than ever depend, such as health, housing and social welfare must not be asked to pay the price of the Covid-19 crisis.”

Gino Kenny TD, who will question the Minister for Tourism, will say: “Hospitality sector workers need to be protected and need to be confident of their health and safety at work before the government open up the economy. These workers need access to PPE. They also need an agency of the state where they can report malpractice and health and safety violations of employers to. The HSA should be inspecting workplaces in the hospitality sector to make sure their health and safety procedures are up to scratch.

“Seasonal workers must be given access the Wage Subsidy Scheme as many of they rely on this work to get by during the year. Students, for example, who are trying to save for college payments at the beginning of term need to be given access the scheme.

Gino Kenny TD, who will be also questioning the Minister for Children, will say: “This crisis has shown how the childcare model in this country is inadequate for the needs of workers. We will be calling again for the government to establish a state-run childcare system which can be affordable and can accommodate the needs of workers and their families. Frontline workers especially need access to affordable and adequate childcare.”