Remote working decision welcomed

Fórsa today (Tuesday) welcomed the Government’s decision to maintain its existing policy of a ‘staggered and phased’ return to workplaces, rather than to lift all
restrictions on workplace attendance from Friday 22nd October.

The union’s head of communications, Bernard Harbor, said: “We have consistently urged a careful and cautious approach to the return to workplaces in order to protect workers and others in the workplace, and to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Remote working is working for most staff and employers, so there was no objective reason to accelerate the return to workplaces at a time when all the main Covid indicators are pointing the wrong way.”

Fórsa says remote working has largely sustained or increased productivity throughout the pandemic, while bringing wider benefits to employers, workers and society.

Mr Harbor also called on the Government and employer representatives to maintain consultation with unions about a safe return to workplaces based on the health and safety measures set out in a ‘Return to Work Safely Protocol’ published last summer.

The protocol was agreed, and has subsequently been revised, under the auspices of the Labour-Employer Economic Forum (LEEF), the State’s most important forum for social dialogue on employment and labour market issues. It is made up of senior representatives of Government, workers and employers.

“The protocol has worked well and it should continue to ensure that all working environments are safe and compliant with measures necessary to contain the virus and keep workers and others safe. Its requirement that employers consult with worker representatives will continue to be an important safeguard as individual employments plan a phased and safe return to the workplace,” he said.