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Screwfix under fire over social distancing during coronavirus crisis

By Richard Guttridge | Stafford | Coronavirus | Published:

DIY retailer Screwfix is coming under increasing pressure over its treatment of workers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Screwfix

Union officials are to request a meeting with bosses at Screwfix, which is run by its logistics partner Wincanton, following numerous complaints from warehouse workers in Stafford and Lichfield about a lack of social distancing and other issues.

A video posted on Facebook last week appeared to show dozens of workers leaving the Stafford site at Shackleton Way at once.

Simon Green, regional officer for Unite, said he was concerned the company was putting "profit before employees".

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Screwfix has closed its stores but is continuing to operate a click and collect service.

The firm has said this is for essential products but Mr Green said he was aware of items such as lawnmowers and fence paint continuing to be delivered.

A range of items, from power tools to screws and nails, are currently available on the Screwfix website.

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A worker based at Stafford told how workers were regularly in close contact with each other.

The Screwfix warehouse in Stafford

A leaked email from another Unite official said Wincanton needed to address "safety, welfare and furlough terms" across its sites.

He added: "Unless there are significant changes in the way Wincanton are dealing with the current situation I fear that many of our members will feel that the working environment is unsafe to continue working in."

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And Mr Green said bosses from Wincanton needed to "come to the table".

He said: "Our members are getting more and more frustrated with the items they are being asked to deliver such as garden fence paint, lawnmowers and all that sort of stuff.

"The feeling is that Wincanton/Screwfix don't give a damn. It's coming from a number of people and we are going to try and engage with the company to see if they will enact social distancing."

Wincanton has said the safety of its staff is its "number one priority" and that it was "working flat out" to ensure social distancing and other measures are adhered to.

It comes as delivery firm Yodel was accused by the GMB union of not providing workers at its Lichfield site with gloves and other protective equipment.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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