A GOVERNMENT Minister considering a smoking ban in Northern Ireland was urged last night: Don&t wait for England.$
Shaun Woodward revealed plans to contact trade unions over fears that a partial block on lighting up in public could create a two-tier workforce.
During talks in New York with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the city&s ban, the Health Minister was told of the risks pub staff were exposed too.
Non-smokers working an eight-hour shift in a New York bar before the law change would inhale the equivalent of 10 cigarettes a day, Mr Woodward was told.
He said: That raises serious questions for me. If you have a partial ban where people can smoke in pubs which don&t serve food, you are running the risk of having a two-tier workforce.
It begs the question should you have legislation that protects one set of workers and does not protect another set of employees.
That is a question I am going to put out to trade unions in Northern Ireland because it worries me that under a partial ban we will have one set of workers who will feel protected and another set of workers who will not.$
The minister has pledged to decide in the autumn what sort of ban to introduce in 2007.
Lighting up in public places is already illegal in the Republic, with Scotland set to emulate its complete prohibition.
ASH spokesman Ian Willmore said: The minister should stop faffing about and get on with introducing comprehensive legislation. …