Hatfield warehouse worker fears going to work in coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 17:35 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:36 31 March 2020

DHL run the warehouse for M&S online. Picture: M&S/DHL.

DHL run the warehouse for M&S online. Picture: M&S/DHL.

Archant

A Hatfield man who works in an M&S clothing warehouse in Welham Green is still going to work, but is afraid for his health and believes he should be allowed to stay at home.

DHL, who runs the warehouse, has told workers, including a man from Hatfield, that it needs to continue as it provides essential clothing for M&S online.

He told the WHT that it is a hard decision to make, as he has to either claim universal credit – at £94 a week, and stay healthy – or go to work and earn £375 a week.

Workers have also been told that their hours are reducing but will have to either take time off as holiday or not be paid for shifts.

“That’s a huge hit,” he said,

Considering his rent, council tax, food shopping and bills, the worker said he must continue.

He added: “We shouldn’t be here. We’re not essential. It’s just profit for them.”

The man in his 40s added that he has so far not been provided with any protective gear or hand sanitiser, but has been told to socially distance and wash his hands regularly.

Currently, employers can claim for 80 per cent of employees on a leave of absence monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, under a statutory sick pay scheme.

The Hatfield man also argues that would also be a hit and is very concerned that he would still not get the money immediately.

The government has yet to call for the complete shutdown of non-essential warehouses, under the new lockdown rules, but has told clothing shops and non-essential stores close.

Currently, it says businesses where employees cannot work from home should carry on as its important for business to keep running.

The worker, who was going to go on holiday abroad this month, is also struggling to get his trip fully reimbursed, claiming he was offered a voucher instead.

An M&S spokeswoman said, “M&S and our partners fully support the government’s efforts to protect our NHS and save lives and we’re following all guidance including for running our food stores and our online clothing operations.

“At Welham Green our partners have put a number of measures in place which they are keeping under constant review.”

DHL have also been contacted for a comment but are yet to respond.


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