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‘Key workers’ walk out of factories over lack of social distancing measures

Workers at Moy Park and ABP Food Group factories in Northern Ireland staged a walk out following concerns social distancing measures were being ignored by the companies. 

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‘Key workers’ walk out of factories over lack of social distancing measures

Upset about the working arrangements inside the factories and the lack of measures in place to combat the spread of the virus, the union Unite said 1,000 workers walked out of the Moy Park processing site in Portadown on March 25.

 

However, Moy Park have disputed the union’s claim and stated 100 workers walked out of the factory ’for 15 minutes’.

 

ABP, one of Europe’s leading privately owned food processors, also saw 30 employees walk out of its Lurgan site stating similar reasons.

 

Both companies have since reported no further disruptions.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen Government label food production as an essential service during the outbreak, with food producers granted ’key worker’ status on March 19.

 

However, all businesses have been urged to apply appropriate social distancing measures and make changes to protect the welfare of staff.


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Company statements

 

A spokesperson for Moy Park said: “The health and wellbeing of our team is our most important consideration and we have put new, robust measures in place to keep them safe.

 

"The company had identified seven areas to enhance social distancing with measures including staggering breaks, respacing workstations and communal areas, as well as installing screens on appropriate production lines"

 

“We are continually reviewing the situation and taking additional steps where necessary.

 

“Our teams are playing a vital role in keeping food production moving and feeding the nation. We are committed to ensuring they are safe and well to keep providing these essential food products.”

An ABP spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of colleagues is paramount and the company has introduced a variety of additional measures at all sites in recent weeks in response to Covid-19.

 

"These measures include protocols around essential visitors, temperature checking, additional sanitising stations, staggered breaks, additional canteen spaces and many other robust protocols that are in place in food manufacturing facilities.

 

"The company is taking guidance from the relevant public health authorities and is continually reviewing the situation and taking additional steps where necessary”.

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