Zero Hours revelations speaks volumes about failed government Covid strategy
Contact tracers are now being employed by the HSE with zero hours contracts through an agency. They will have no sick pay, no guaranteed hours, which could be terminated at any time.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, following information which he revealed in the Dáil yesterday, which he reiterated today, has said that the recruitment of contact tracers on zero hours contract is a “shocking and outrageous development” and that this revelation “speaks volumes” about the government’s failed Covid strategy.
He said that the government simply had not learnt from the Call for Ireland plan, which recruited nurses on zero hours contracts. Many of these nurses were let go following the opening up of the country during the summer leaving the health service exposed to a second wave of the virus.
He said: “I was gob-smacked when I received an email yesterday from a young woman who had applied for a job as a contact tracer outlining that it was a zero hour contract, with an agency, no sick pay, no guaranteed hours that could be terminated at any time. It beggar’s belief.
“Having a well-staffed, permanent, professional tracing regime is the only way we can avoid future lockdowns and get control of this disease. If this is the way we treat workers seeking to work in this vital area it will seriously undermine our ability to overcome Covid 19 and protect public health. This miserly penny pinching risks the lives and health of the public and particularly our older and vulnerable citizens.
“Candidates, as I understand, are now reconsidering applying for contact tracing positions which is unsurprising and also presents a serious issue for the fight against Covid 19, going forward.”