ICTU asks government to continue full PUP rate for workers in unopened sectors

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions outlined concerns it has for workers and workplaces ahead of next week’s reopening plans.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS been asked to consider its guidance around staggered work times going forward and maintaining the current PUP rates for workers in unopened sectors ahead of the reopening plan to be announced next week. 

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) wrote a letter outlining a number of concerns it has for workers and workplaces ahead of agreements on further sectors reopening.

In a letter to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Transport Minister, the organisation said concerns have been raised in relation to travelling to and from work, especially around social distancing challenges on rush-hour public transport. 

The ICTU asked the government to consider its guidance relating to staggered work arrangements being put in place “particularly in the early phase of this return” to workplaces. 

It said workers in sectors that haven’t yet reopened due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions should be able to stay on the full Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) “as the prevailing circumstances continue to be outside of their control”. 

People can no longer apply for the PUP and payments are set to be reduced from next month. It is expected to be abolished by February 2022.  

The current rates range from €203 to €350 per week. 

The organisation asked the government to consider introducing ongoing advice to employers to operate a working from home blended model on a voluntary basis in the months ahead.

“This we believe would assist those workers who will need to readjust their care
arrangements etc, it will also reduce the pressure on public transport facilities and furthermore will contribute positively to the compliance with social distancing and ventilation measures,” the letter said. 

It said the use of social distancing measures, PPE and ventilation should be “considered and enhanced where necessary”. 

The letter was sent by Patricia King, the ICTU’s general secretary to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Communications and Transport Eamon Ryan. 

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has promised “a comprehensive roadmap” for how restrictions will be lifted over the coming months and the beginning of “a new era in the management of Covid-19″.

This plan will be finalised and signed off at a Cabinet meeting next week. 

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