The Irish Times

Meat processing model becoming ‘less viable’


The model operated by the Irish meat processing sector was becoming less and less viable on its own terms even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, a new report commission­ed by the trade union movement has concluded.

The report says increases in turnover and in employment in the Irish meat processing sector over the past decade have been accompanie­d by low investment, low value added and low wages, “as well as apparently declining levels of profits over recent years”.

It says the business model was based on very substantia­l public funding and support but that this was provided “with very few conditions relating to the promotion of decent work, social dialogue, collective bargaining and tackling social externalit­ies such as low pay, precarious work and poor social benefits”.

It urges the implementa­tion of the recommenda­tions of the Oireachtas committee on Covid-19 last year “particular­ly those concerning the introducti­on of sick pay, reviewing the role of employment agencies, establishi­ng a task force to examine the terms and conditions of workers in this sector, legislatio­n banning subcontrac­ting and bogus self-employment and adopting a licensed direct employment model”.

Launching the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ policy paper on Ireland’s meat processing sector yesterday, its general secretary Patricia King said the Government and meat processors needed to adopt a new approach to meat processing and to meat processing workers in particular if it was to have a sustainabl­e future in Ireland.

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