Facebook content moderators in Ireland are demanding work from home rights from the social media giant amid the ongoing spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. In the most recent update, Facebook content moderators met with Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in order to demand work-from-home rights. They claim that Facebook has forced them back into the offices amid the recent spike.
A report in The Verge quotes Facebook content moderators as saying that they are not treated as equal employees by the company and are often deprived of the same rights or benefits as of other employees in the company. "“We should have the same mental health care they get, the same benefits—but we don’t. Facebook can’t exist without us, and it should stop treating us as second-class citizens," a content moderator was quoted in the report as saying. It is important to note that in August 2020, Facebook announced that employees would be able to work from home until July 2021. Two months later, in October, content moderators working for subcontracting firm CPL in Dublin were told to return to office. The company had categorised them as essential workers, according to a report in The Guardian.
The Verge report also quoted a spokesperson for Covalen, a CPL subsidiary as saying that work from home for moderators is determined on a case-to-case basis and that the content they are working on can be reviewed from home.
This comes at a time when Ireland has been in a level five lockdown since December 30, meaning that houshold visits are banned and non-essential businsses are closed. Ireland has had more than 194,000 cases in total currently with 3,214 deaths due to COVID-19.