Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, has responded to reports that some local councils have decided to lay off staff in response to the Covid 19 crisis.
Minister Hargey has emphasised she will not support actions of councils if they do not respect and protect worker’s rights. The Minister has stated that councils should exhaust all options to protect workers.
Minister Hargey said: “We must respect the rights of workers and protect jobs. Of course I share Councils’ concerns about their ongoing financial sustainability. But this a time for careful consideration of all the options before taking action. My officials have been working closely with Councils to understand the full level of their lost income, the additional costs they have incurred in relation to the pandemic, and the extent to which they can manage the situation by making use of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.”
The Minister added: “During this crisis, more than ever before, we need to show solidarity with workers across the public, private and third sectors. I call on councils, and other employers to do all in their power to safeguard jobs so that when the current restrictions are lifted, those very workers can contribute to the economic recovery that we will so badly need.”