Wednesday 31 March 2021

Mandate Trade Union today expressed strong criticism of yesterday’s government announcement to scrap the previous vaccine roll-out plans in order to follow an aged-based model similar to the UK.

Mandate General Secretary, Gerry Light, said “The sudden shift from prioritising job categories, including essential workers who have kept society functioning, over now to an age-based roll-out is a serious slap in the face for the many thousands of our members who have continued to serve the public. Those essential retail workers who have bravely attended work and who have been on the frontline continuing to work in public facing jobs since the very start of this pandemic for over a year now will be angry and disappointed at this decision by the government”.

Light continued “Any past recognition by the government of the vital work carried out by our members, who have effectively kept the nation fed and safe, must now regrettably be measured in the context of yesterday’s decision on vaccine roll-out. Yet again, essential front-line workers have been served up more empty promises and empty platitudes from a government who have mishandled this pandemic from day 1. Our members leave home every day with the uncertainty of not knowing whether they will return having picked up this potentially deadly virus. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases they face this extremely high risk to their health and safety for limited financial reward and to what they see clearly as little or no recognition from this government.”

Mr Light concluded by saying “Mandate strongly calls on the government to urgently rethink their strategy for the delivery of the vaccination programme. We also call on those retail employers whose retail businesses remain open to let their voice be publicly heard on this important issue. The priority vaccination of retail workers is not only the right thing to do, it is absolutely necessary to ensure the long term safety of retail workers, retail customers and society in general as well as the long term viability and future sustainability of the Irish retail sector.”