Sixty workers have, this morning (Friday, March 27th), refused to start shifts at Linden Foods site in Dungannon, according to Unite the Union.
The staff are demanding immediate talks with management over Covid-19 infection control measures.
The union said in desperation and fear for their health and well-being, the employees refused to enter the workplace and sought assurances from management that two-metres spacing would be adopted throughout.
Brian Hewitt, Unite regional officer for workers at the company, who was contacted by members after the walk-out, said that his union will do whatever it takes to support its member’s fight for adequate coronavirus infection controls.
Health and safety concerns
He outlined that there have been ongoing issues between management and workers at Linden Foods in Dungannon over the issue of the absence of social distancing for workers on the boning line, in the canteen, changing areas and at entry and exit points.
“The company’s management has provided no additional wash facilities and failed to stagger breaks.”
“Workers have been reporting to Unite that those exhibiting symptoms are still allowed to work as are those with family members who are self-isolating as result of being in the high-risk health category.”
“Everyone needs to take responsibility but the company’s actions are putting workers needlessly at further risk.”
Both inside and outside the company, he added, Unite has been raising health and safety concerns over the last weeks, but unfortunately, these have been “ignored by management”.
“Management is continuing to ignore the concerns of their workers – they are putting the lives and well-being of their employees at risk – their intransigence is entirely unacceptable.”
“Linden Foods must engage with these workers and commit to providing comprehensive infection control measures to end this walkout,” he concluded.