Greencore Food Group continue to live up to their Meancore nickname in their ongoing refusal to pay our county’s key food workers 100% of their pay during any periods of self-isolation, something that the Bakers Union (https://www.bfawu.org/) has been arguing for since the start of the pandemic. But now even Britain’s leading scientists are holding-up the poor practices of Greencore as an example of what businesses should avoid doing if they care about people’s lives.
Earlier today Stephen Reicher, a professor of Social Psychology at the University of St Andrews, addressed a panel of prestigious health experts making up the Independent SAGE advisory board, and reminded the world of the dire consequences of Greencore’s exploitation of our country’s key workers. He said:
“If workplaces aren’t safe it obviously puts the workforce at risk, and with infections going up at the moment there is a reasonable probability of bringing an infection into the workplace and sharing it, and thereby costing peoples health, and possibly costing peoples lives. So, on the one hand foreseeable problems have cost workers their health and sometimes their lives. On the other hand, of course, if the workplace becomes a site in which there is transmission it can then be brought back into the community and lead to community spikes, increases in community infection, as we saw in Leicester.
Now the key point is this, most employers are responsible, and most employers will be putting mitigations in place, as most employers should be talking to their workers. But it is not good enough that most employers are doing this, we need all employers to do this, and we need to make sure that even the bad employers are doing this because as we know there are instances where they have not done this and there are instances where that has had major costs.
There are many examples one could give, for instance when there was the Greencore outbreak there is evidence that in part that was due to the fact that workers who were ill could not afford to leave work and self-isolate because they would have their pay docked. So sometimes its an issue of not supporting your workers in self-isolating, and sometimes its an issue of appalling conditions where there isn’t social distancing, and where there isn’t ventilation, and again we saw evidence from Leicester where poor working conditions led to spikes of infection within the workforce which led to higher community transmission.”
Following from this logical attack on the appalling actions of Greencore’s management, the professor then went on to argue the need for a regulatory framework to enforce the good treatment of workers during the pandemic, and he supported urgent investment in the Health and Safety Executive — a body which has seen its funding dramatically cut over the past decade by the Tories.