Covid-19 concerns of workers who left Rosderra Meats in dispute ‘were warranted’

Trade union SIPTU has told AgriLand that the concerns of Rosderra Irish Meats workers who left the plant in Clara in protest “were warranted”.

Four cases have been confirmed in the plant since. However, these cases have not been attributed to the moving of staff between facilities.

The Rosderra Irish Meats facility in Clara, Co. Offaly, has seen four members of staff test positive for Covid-19. The cases were confirmed after a full site test was carried out last Friday (August 21) on 68 workers there.

Last week, it was reported that SIPTU had written to Rosderra Irish Meats following a staff walk-out at the plant in Clara on August 10, after workers were brought there from the site in Edenderry.

SIPTU industrial organiser Jason Palmer told AgriLand that the union had written a letter to Rosderra, in which it raised concerns over the company “not paying those workers who left” as part of that dispute.

In an update, SIPTU has told this publication that although “those four positive cases haven’t as of now been confirmed as being attributed to the workers who came from Edenderry; with four positive cases, it just goes to show that the workers’ concerns were warranted”.

When the workers came in that day [of the dispute] and found that people had been brought into the plant, they raised concerns that they didn’t know where these people had come from and that they didn’t know what precautions had been taken.

“The workers refused to work for the day because of the justified concerns for their health and well-being, and that of their families.

“The workers returned to work the following day and the company has yet to pay them for the day they left. SIPTU believes they should be paid as they were expressing genuine concerns.”

Rosderra Irish Meats has not yet responded to SIPTU’s letter.

SIPTU issued a statement to AgriLand: “We’re calling on Rosderra Irish Meats to take an opportunity to pay these workers and do the right thing for an industry that has been much maligned in recent times.

“Here is an opportunity for Rosderra Irish Meats to treat these workers with the respect they deserve and pay them.”

SIPTU’s letter to Rosderra Irish Meats

The letter written by SIPTU last week includes the following:

“We [SIPTU] are writing to you on foot of the company decision not to pay our members following the situation that arose in the Clara site last Monday, August 10.

“We believe that this decision is unduly harsh and unfair. The workers involved acted out of concern for their health and, indeed, the health of their families and whether or not the company feels those concerns were merited, you can be assured that the concerns were sincerely held.”