Over 600 meat plant workers have tested positive for Covid-19, and 15 workers have been hospitalized. One worker in the North has died.
These shocking figures are the result of pure abuse by the bosses and their federation, Meat Industry Ireland.
Meat plant workers are often migrants who come from Eastern Europe and Brazil. They are paid just the minimum wage and are often forced to live in cramped conditions. They are often hired by sub-contractors who keeps them on roll-over contracts.
The job brings workers together in close proximity. But even though the bosses were warned about the danger, they knowingly put workers at risk.
Even when workers said they were ill, they were brought back into the meat plans – before the results of their Covid-19 tests became known. This is why the virus has spread so dramatically.
It is time to end this criminal control of the meat industry. The owners are ripping off workers and the beef farmers who supply the cattle.
We need to take this industry into public control to guarantee proper wages and decent health conditions for workers.