A biscuit factory supplying McVities has suffered a coronavirus outbreak, according to a factory employee.
The Pladis factory in South Wigston, Leicester has reportedly seen five staff from one team test positive for Covid-19 this week. The worker at the factory who reported the outbreak did not wish to be named.
Local health authorities have been made aware of all five of the cases and some members of staff are now self-isolating.
A spokesperson for the factory has confirmed that the staff will remain on full pay. However, there have been some complaints about the factory working conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Employee complaints and safety concerns
Anonymous staff reports claim the company has stayed open and operating throughout lockdown, giving employees “no option but to risk going into work.”
Speaking to LeicestershireLive, one employee added, “The factory [employs] lots of BAME workers who are more at risk and many are from deprived areas.
“Shouldn’t the firm consider its workforce? It is putting it’s staff, who are mainly women of ethnic backgrounds, at risk.
“Workers are scared to take time off, management are company motivated, the factory has remained open throughout lockdown and they just keep going.
“The screens put in place to keep workers apart are actually a space constraint which could lead to injuries when trying to work.”
What was the company’s response?
A spokesperson for Pladis factory emphasised that the health and safety of staff was of chief importance to the company.
“We do not comment on individual cases. However, we can confirm that we are being open and transparent with our colleagues if and when a colleague reports a confirmed case of Covid-19,” they said.
“We have been in regular contact with the local health protection team this week, including today (Friday), and we are following all official guidelines.”
The factory spokesperson also explained that social distancing measures are in place across the site, including staggered employee start times to prevent crowds of workers arriving at the same time, screening, barriers and hand sanitising stations throughout the factory to encourage use.
In addition to these measures they said, “Face coverings have been made available to all employees and visitors and we have also opened four pop-up canteens to ensure social distancing.
“The site is closed at weekends, enabling a deep clean of the site and all colleagues and visitors are instructed not to enter the site if they have any symptoms.
“Colleagues who are self-isolating receive full pay to ensure they feel no pressure to be at the site while unwell.”
Public Health England are aware of the Pladis Factory employees with Covid-19, and are currently supporting the company to ensure the cases do not spread further.