Unite warns that virus outbreak has potential to impact feed supply to millions of chickens across Northern Ireland
Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer warned management at Moy Park that they had to move swiftly to ensure testing of all fifty workers at a Randalstown feed mill after a recent Covid outbreak has led to at least a dozen cases among the workforce.
“Moy Park is the biggest private sector employer in Northern Ireland – with a workforce which is at higher risk than any other in the manufacturing sector. Management have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workforce particularly in the face of the additional risks posed by new variant Covid.
“Unfortunately the workforce at the Randalstown Feed mill operated by the business are facing the consequences of an outbreak which we understand has resulted in at least a dozen positive cases. We have demanded urgent action by bosses – including the testing of all fifty workers at the site and, if necessary, its closure.
“In addition to the danger posed to workers, this outbreak has obvious animal welfare implications as it is the main feeding mill supplying millions of chickens on Moy Park facilities across Northern Ireland. Continued inaction by bosses is unacceptable.
“In the absence of such a response, workers have the right to protect themselves – that means removing themselves from a workplace where they face a risk of transmission. Unite will resolutely defend our members who choose to protect themselves in accordance with Section 44 of the Health & Safety act.
“Many workers have lost faith in the company’s infection control procedures especially now that we face a new more easily transmitted variant of the virus. Moy Park bosses need to roll out mass testing of the workforce on site so that we know the extent of the problem and whether it is new variant linked. If necessary, we need to see a full shut down on full-pay while a deep-cleanse is performed for a safe reopening”, Mr McKeever said.