Monaghan Mushrooms must immediately introduce lateral flow testing and provide fully-paid sick leave to self-isolating workers at its Benburb site

Workers have told Unite of an extensive Covid-19 outbreak at Monaghan Mushrooms production site in Battleford Road, Benburb

If outbreak affecting majority of workforce is confirmed, site must be shut for a deep-cleanse pending safe return with testing and full pay provided to workforce

Unite Regional Officer, Sean McKeever, called on management at Monaghan Mushrooms to move swiftly to protect workers and the wider public health after becoming aware of a major outbreak at its production site in Benburb.

“Unite members working at a Monaghan Mushrooms production facility on the border on the Battleford Road in Benburb raised concerns over the large scale of an outbreak among the workforce. The workers have reported concerns that as many of three-quarters of the workforce of approximately fifty could have caught the virus – this would represent a very high level of transmission.

“Unite sought answers from management on these concerns; unfortunately, bosses have responded by stone-walling on the scale of the outbreak and offered empty assurances that they were doing everything they could.

“Unite understands further that those forced to self-isolate after exposure or infection are left to draw on their holiday entitlement or to survive on the meagre statutory sick pay entitlement of a bare £95.85 a week. This is totally disgraceful behaviour by a hugely profitable and successful company.

“At a bare minimum, Unite is demanding the immediate introduction of lateral flow testing for the virus to curtail risk of further transmission. What is more, any worker having to self-isolate as a result of infection or exposure must be guaranteed full pay for the duration.

“And if the scale of the outbreak is anywhere near what is reported by workers, then the site itself must be closed pending a deep-cleanse and total workforce testing with all workers provided full pay for the duration of closure. Such an approach is the minimum acceptable to protect workers, the wider public health and the healthcare service at this time of crisis”, Mr McKeever said.

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