'Adequate sick pay' call

Self-isolating Bakkavor Newark workers need adequate sick pay

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Workers who need to self-isolate at a Bakkavor dessert factory in Newark, Nottinghamshire, where there has been a coronavirus outbreak must be provided with ‘adequate sick pay’, Unite said on Tuesday (August 11).

Unite, which has more than 150 members at the site, said the factory must increase sick pay from the statutory minimum of £95.85 a week that its low-paid workers currently receive.

Not to do so risks staff facing the ‘stark choice’ of working while potentially infected or being unable to pay for food, rent or other bills, the union said. 

Unite said it is in contact with the factory’s management and is ‘satisfied’ with the onsite health and safety precautions being taken, but warned that it is ‘monitoring the situation closely’ and will not hesitate to hold Bakkavor to account if staff are put at risk.

Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said, “Like many other low paying employers in food manufacturing, the Bakkavor factory in Newark does not provide company sick pay for its workers. 

“Not only is this unfair given how hard its staff work, it increases the risk of coronavirus transmission within the workplace – Bakkavor must provide adequate sick pay to ensure this doesn’t happen.  

“Staff should not be faced with the stark choice of self-isolating on a radically reduced wage or hoping for the best and going into work because they can’t afford not to,” he added.

“Unite is in contact with the factory’s management and is satisfied with the onsite health and safety measures that have been put in place. We are monitoring the situation closely, however, and will not hesitate to hold the company to account if staff safety is neglected.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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