Councillor Harkin felt that Council had previously spoken at length on workers’ rights, social justice and trade unions. He expressed disappointment at the recent treatment of NI port workers and their trade unions. He stated that employees were withdrawn from work on the basis of supposed communication from unions which did not come from unions. He felt it was a situation where people were trying to use trade unions and workers as pawns.
Continuing he stated that he wished to raise a health and safety issue regarding workers in the district. He advised that he had been contacted by workers from Seagate who were experiencing difficulty accessing sick pay whilst self-isolating. He stated that Seagate was a very important and major employer in the area, whose share value had increased during the pandemic. He advised that Seagate employees had continued to work throughout the pandemic and were identified as essential workers. He stated that management were putting pressure on staff to come into work and that employees did not have a recognised trade union, therefore could not have discussions with management of the company on an equal basis on the matter.
Councillor Duffy stated that she was unaware of specific details of the matter, however had received information from an employee at Seagate regarding issues that were being raised. She stated that she was content to second the proposal, as the letter would request clarity on the situation.
The Chair advised that he had also been contacted by an employee of Seagate. He stated that it was his understanding that at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic that self-isolation would be considered as a separate matter of sick period from work.
Councillor Harkin Proposed, Seconded by Councillor Duffy
That Council write to Seagate management to ask for clarification on workers’ ability to access Company Sick Pay (CSP) while self-isolating and for information on the implementation of public health guidelines in their facility.
Alderman Devenney stated that he fully agreed with the sentiments of the proposal. He stated that if there were concerns in the workplace regarding staff in isolation and not being able to access sick pay, it would cause financial hardship.
Members were asked to vote on the proposal, the result of which was unanimous.
Recommended That Council write to Seagate management to ask for clarification on workers’ ability to access Company Sick Pay (CSP) while self-isolating and for information on the implementation of public health guidelines in their facility.