Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has proposed a “detailed Code of Practice” with the aim of protecting workers in the meat processing industry.

The ‘code’ was discussed with representatives of trade union SIPTU this afternoon (Tuesday, September 1) as part of a follow-up to a meeting in early August.

MII said that the new code of practice “underpins existing Covid-19 mitigation measures in place”.

The meat industry representative group said that the code “reflects MII’s efforts to respond constructively to a draft ‘Charter of Workplace Safety’ presented by SIPTU previously”.

According to MII, the proposal “formalises the existing suite of measures in place in members’ processing facilities that have played an important role in delivering the sharp reduction that there has been in the number of Covid-19 clusters in meat plants from 22 in May to four currently”.

Cormac Healy, MII’s senior director, commented: “MII and SIPTU are in agreement on the importance of ensuring measures are in place to protect workers from Covid-19; and of continuity of business, which also protects workers’ livelihoods.

The national screening programme has now commenced and it is essential that turnaround of test results are delivered within 24 hours.

“We discussed a Code of Practice for the primary meat processing sector in the context of addressing the ongoing challenge of this global pandemic. We will progress this Code of Practice further with an aim to finalising it at our next meeting,” Healy added.

MII did note that there were some differences between MII’s and SIPTU’s proposals, particularly around the areas of pay and conditions.

The meat industry body said that issues of this type are not within its mandate, and rest with the individual member businesses within MII.