Up to 1,000 employees have, this morning (Wednesday, March 25th), walked out of the Seagoe Moy Park site in Portadown, Northern Ireland, over Covid-19 concerns.
Sean McKeever, Unite regional officer said the “mass walkout of workers” follows the failure of the largest employer in Northern Ireland to provide “basic” health and safety protections to its workforce.
In a statement, he said: “Unite attempted to secure commitments to ensure a minimum two-metre social distancing between workers and other measures to enable infection control in the face of the coronavirus threat but our proposals were dismissed by management.”
“Workers are refusing to return to work in unsafe conditions. This is an entirely foreseeable outcome of both management greed and total inaction from Stormont.”
No ‘two-tier approach’ to health and safety
He said immediate movement from management is needed to address the workers’ legitimate fears over Coronavirus transmission.
“There cannot be any two-tier approach to health and safety in workplaces. Food production workers will not be treated as second-class.” McKeever concluded.
Meanwhile, approximately 80 employees at ABP Meats in Lurgan refused work today over fears for their safety, as reported by us here.
The union said it has been informed that the workers are demanding adequate social distancing of two-metres to be facilitated and enforced.
Staff are also requesting that other measures are adopted to keep colleagues as separated as possible and deep-cleans are conducted on work stations where workers have self-isolated with coronavirus symptoms.