Food manufacturer Bakkavor will pay the 1,600 employees at its Newark dessert factory sick pay, if they need to self-isolate due to the health risks of Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
Employees at the factory were previously paid the minimum legal statutory sick pay (SSP) requirement of £95.85 a week. However, from this week, the business will commit to paying their full basic wage.
Employees will also be eligible to the sick pay if they need to self-isolate due to a family member, a household member, or a person in their social bubble displaying symptoms of the virus.
Mick Orpin regional officer at Unite, said: “Unite welcomes the decision by Bakkavor to ensure self-isolating staff in Newark receive their full wages while they are off. It is the right thing to do both for those who may struggle to get by if they are forced to stop working and for the wider efforts to stop the virus’ spread. It is also an example of the real gains to be had from joining a union.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that it is often low paid employees with little protections that are asked to shoulder the most risk during times when society is expected to make collective sacrifices. One lesson that must be learnt is that it is in no one’s interest if workers are forced into a position where they have to put themselves, and potentially others, at risk because they cannot afford to be ill.
“While Bakkavor has recognised this in the context of the pandemic, Unite will continue to press the company to make permanent improvements to staff sick pay at its factory in Newark. We are also urging staff to participate in the factory’s voluntary testing programme to assist with the containment of the virus.”
Bakkavor was unavailable to comment at the time of publication.