More Royal Mail workers have hit out at the conditions in the Manchester city centre sorting office after number of staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Two workers claim that bosses have failed to put effective measures in place to protect staff from coronavirus at the Royal Mail centre on Oldham Road.
It’s understood up to 15 members of staff tested positive for the virus last week.
One member staff, who asked not to be named, slammed the company’s handling of the situation, claiming that some managers encourage staff to break social distancing guidelines under the guise of ‘doing them a favour’.
“This includes asking employees to share vans, which is currently prohibited by the company,” the worker said.
“The business practices in the offices have been absolutely atrocious throughout this whole period and the safety and well-being of the staff has been secondary to the job being completed.”
They claim staff who need to self-isolate have been told they won’t be paid and, in some cases, were told to return to work until they’d received the results of their test.
Royal Mail denies the claims and says it is working with Public Health England to set up a mobile testing unit for staff on site.
Another member of staff, who did wish to be identified, believes that up 40 members of staff could have tested positive.
Royal Mail did not confirm the figures when approached by the Manchester Evening News.
Some staff members have also criticised the depot’s approach to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
They said PPE was not being fully enforced or worn by all including senior management, one worker claimed.
Another added: “PPE is regularly withheld and distributed sparingly to staff, with managers also willing to ignore any rules put in place if it means trouble for themselves.
“They have to be put under constant pressure to act on any situation and the result is always putting the business first. This is leaving staff under unnecessary stress, in a situation where the rules and regulations keep changing regularly.
“Many people have vulnerable family members and are coming into work and not being told people have tested positive until days later. The whole operation is a shambles.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers and the local communities in which we operate very seriously.
“Following further positive tests for coronavirus at the Manchester Delivery Office, as a precautionary measure, we are working with Public Health England to provide tests for all of our staff from a mobile unit on site.
“An enhanced clean of the building has already been carried out. We are working with our people, to resolve any areas of concern. All colleagues are working as normal.
“Throughout this crisis, every decision we make puts the health of our people and customers first.
“Royal Mail has committed £40 million to buying equipment such as hand sanitiser, disposable gloves and other additional protective measures to keep our people safe as they keep the UK connected during this time.
“We have also put in place a range of preventive measures to protect both our customers and our colleagues.
“As well as encouraging good hand hygiene, standard ways of working have been revised to ensure that colleagues stay two metres apart at all times.
“All staff have been briefed about the social distancing measures jointly agreed by local management and the CWU.
“This has been supplemented with visible reminders such as posters and one-way floor markings. In addition there is only one person permitted in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at any one time.”