Kildare Chilling worker waiting ‘nearly 2 weeks’ for Covid-19 test result – SIPTU

Trade union SIPTU has told AgriLand that a Kildare Chilling factory worker is waiting “nearly two weeks” for a Covid-19 test result to come back.

SIPTU industrial organiser Jason Palmer said he has been speaking to a worker who will be waiting two weeks as of tomorrow, Thursday (August 20), for their test result to come back.

Describing the testing situation as “erratic”, Palmer said:

“I am aware of workers who have gotten second test results back before others have gotten their first back.

“He [worker] is on the outside of his quarantine now and he still doesn’t even know whether his test is positive or negative for Covid-19.

“He told me he has rung the helpline twice over the course of a few days to find out when he would get his result and he was told that he would get it in 24 hours, which he didn’t.”

Palmer said he has also asked Kildare Chilling “to help with the financial burden on workers who have tested positive”.

He claimed: “Kildare Chilling came back and told me no.”

“If a worker tests positive, it’s not just the worker who is out of work and pocket. Their whole family has to be tested and they’re out of work and on reduced pay,” Palmer said.

“There is no sick pay scheme in Kildare Chilling and workers have seen their pay cut to €350 [government payment scheme]. When we don’t know how long closures are going to last along with test result waits, it is a massive financial hit for any family.”

Operations at the Co. Kildare plant were originally suspended on August 4, following the discovery of a number of Covid-19 cases there.

Last week, suppliers were told there was no definite date set for the resumption of operations, as the business was “awaiting results from testing all the staff”, and that “results [are] slow to come out”.

SIPTU has written to Rosderra following staff walk-out

In other meat factory news, Palmer also told AgriLand that SIPTU has written to Rosderra Irish Meats following a staff walk-out at one of its factories on Monday, August 10.

A number of workers left the processing factory in Clara, Co. Offaly, due to concerns over Covid-19 after staff had been brought from another of the company’s sites in Edenderry.

Palmer has raised concerns with Rosderra Meats over the company “not paying those workers who left” as part of the strike.

The letter reads:

“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.”

Palmer said he has “not yet heard from Rosderra”, but is “hopeful for contact by the end of the week”.

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