GSP 22-21 COVID and Social Distancing



In recent weeks we have received a number of enquiries from members in relation to the Social Distancing measures currently in place in An Post premises.

The Government has indicated the 22nd October will see the final phase of restrictions lifted and be replaced by guidance and advice. This includes the requirement for Social Distancing. What is to transpire is unsure as in recent days we have seen a high level of reporting of COVID 19 with hospitalisations continuing to increase with a corresponding increase in those requiring treatment in intensive care. This is replicated in An Post and remains a cause for concern.

All workplaces, including An Post, are governed by the Work Safety Protocols which were developed at the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF). This is the forum for high level dialogue between Government, Trade Unions, and Employer representatives on matters of strategic national importance and includes input from the Health and Safety Authority, the Health Services Executive, and the Department of Health.

The protocols are based on public health advice and are reviewed on a regular basis with the most recent review in September 2021. This latest review was a technical review and followed the publication by the Government of ‘Reframing the Challenge: Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting’.

Further engagement will shortly take place at the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) in relation to guidance required for employers and workers taking account of latest public health guidance.

In the meantime, all workplaces are expected to adhere to the criteria contained within the latest version of the protocol i.e.  practice physical distancing, adopt proper hand hygiene and follow respiratory etiquette.

The Union’s priority remains to protect the health and safety of members and this approach will continue in any discussions we have with the Company. We continue to meet the Company weekly to discuss issues around COVID 19 and this will continue for the foreseeable future.

Once updated advice is issued by the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF) the Union will review this advice with the Company and discuss how it should apply in An Post. Any decisions made will be on the basis of risk assessments and will be designed to protect our members. Therefore, it is most unlikely that any changes will take place on the 22nd October.

In the meantime, Public Health Advice remains that one of the ways out of this pandemic is through the vaccination programme. The Union fully supports the Vaccination Programme as it gives the best opportunity for members to protect themselves and their families and allow society to return to some semblance of normality. It is however a matter for individuals if they want to avail of vaccinations or not. It should also be noted that while vaccination gives a high level of protection from COVID, particularly from serious illness it is not 100% effective and there remains a chance that COVID can still be transmitted in the workplace.

Please bring this to the attention of all members.

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