Union calls on Defra to address inadequate workplace guidance

Union calls on Defra to address inadequate workplace guidance

GMB Union has called on DEFRA to open a dialogue with food producers and unions to address, what it says is the inadequacy of the Government guidance for manufacturing and processing facilities.

The call comes after three workers at a Cranswick food processing facility in Wombwell, Barnsley, which supplies UK supermarkets, were confirmed to have died after testing positive for coronavirus.

Earlier this month, the union wrote to the Secretary of State and major retailers about potential problems in the food and drink supply chain that could lead to unnecessary deaths in the industry. Since then there have been outbreaks in Ireland and the US.

“It’s now crucial that Defra establish a dialogue on the food and drink supply chain, including addressing the inadequacy of the Government Guidance issued last week.”

Eamon O’Hearn, GMB national officer said: “Our thoughts are firmly with the family and colleagues of those victims.

“It’s imperative that Cranswick works with GMB to review operations and identify any issues that could impact on the safety of our members. We really hope that they’ve been following GMB guidance on social distancing which is significantly more comprehensive that Government guidance recently issued.

“We wrote to the Secretary of State for Defra about our concerns earlier this month, precisely because we wanted to avoid further deaths in our industry.

“It’s now crucial that Defra establishes a dialogue on the food and drink supply chain, including addressing the inadequacy of the Government Guidance issued last week.”

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