Deeside politicians call for all staff at 2 Sisters Sandycroft to be Covid tested following outbreak at Anglesey site
Alyn and Deeside politicians have called for all employees at 2 Sisters Food Group site in Sandycroft to be tested for COVID-19 following a coronavirus outbreak at an Anglesey site.
Over 50 workers at the 2 Sisters plant in Llangefni are understood to have contracted COVID-19, with more than 200 people said to be self-isolating.
It has led the company to temporarily suspend production with immediate effect for a period of 14 days.
Member of Parliament for Deeside Mark Tami and Member of the Senedd Jack Sargeant have written to the bosses at 2 Sisters following claims staff from the Sandycroft site are being “bussed in” to the Llangefni chicken processing factory to “help with production pressures.”
In the letter, the two politicians said it’s “extremely concerning news regarding the outbreak of coronavirus at 2 Sisters Food Group in Llangefni on Anglesey.
We believe employees based in Sandycroft, have been “bussed in” to your site in Llangefni to help with production pressures.
With this in mind, we request that all employees on the Sandycroft site are now tested for COVID-19.
We also expect you to review all current processes and associated risk assessments as a matter of urgency, and where necessary, implement safety measures including protective screening in production areas immediately.”
I’m very concerned about the news of a major coronavirus outbreak at 2 Sisters’ factory on Anglesey.@JackSargeantAM and I have written several times to management backing @UniteWales‘ for improved health and safety standards in Sandycroft to prevent an outbreak here as well. pic.twitter.com/UqxWMKg2fd
— Mark Tami MP (@MarkTamiMP) June 18, 2020
In April, new workplace 2-metre social distancing rules came into force aimed at protecting workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Businesses in Wales are instructed to take ‘all reasonable measures’ to ensure the 2m rule is maintained between people on their premises whenever work is being carried out.
In response to questions raised over the outbreak at today’s daily Welsh Government press conference, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it reinforced the message that people should keep following public health guidance.
He said: “Given that this is a close setting in which these people would have been working, I’m obviously concerned that we may well see more confirmed cases of coronavirus.
“There is a proper outbreak that is being managed in the normal way we would manage significant outbreaks here in Wales.
“There’s partnership between Public Health Wales, the local health board, and indeed, Anglesey Council working together with the employer.
“I’d asked people to recognize that this reiterates the seriousness of the coronavirus, the need to follow the guidance.
“Get a test and follow the advice from test, trace and protect to self-isolate and to protect you, your family, and other people around you.”
Lobbying has increased for the government to ease lockdown restrictions in recent week as non-essential shops in England open their doors.
However, Mr Gething said the 2 Sisters outbreak showed any changes to the rules would require people to act responsibly.
It follows widespread images of large crowds queuing up outside stores over the border.
He said: “If non-essential retail opens here in Wales next week, I don’t want to see a repeat of crowds bunched together outside shops in complete breach of what social distancing guidance is supposed to deliver.
“I don’t want to see workers put at risk and I don’t want to see shoppers put at risk.
“People really do need to take a step back and look at the seriousness of the position we’re in and to recognise that the release from lockdown comes with responsibilities for all of us in the way that we choose to behave.
“What’s happening in Anglesey at the moment, I don’t think that is necessarily arguing for a certain approach, but it does mean that we may need to take localised action.”
In a statement, the 2 Sisters company said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues is ultimately the thing that matters most at our business. We are a responsible company with people at its core. Without our people we are nothing.
“Therefore in light of the current Covid-19 cases at our Llangefni site, we have decided to take the necessary action to clearly demonstrate how seriously we take this issue by doing the right thing.
“Doing the right thing means from today we will temporarily suspend production at our Llangefni site with immediate effect for a period of 14 days.
“We will not tolerate any unnecessary risks – however small – for our existing loyal workforce at the facility.
“We have worked in close collaboration in the past week with Public Health Wales, Anglesey Council, the Health & Safety Executive, FSA and the Unite union who have all offered great advice, scientific knowledge and support, and we thank them for their help and guidance, which has informed this decision.
“Our sole focus now is to ensure we support all our colleagues through this time and look forward to operating safely and securely in 14 days’ time.”
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