A group of MP’s, Tony Lloyd Mp, along with Debbie Abrahams MP and Jim McMahon MP, have written to Alok Sharma MP (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).

The letter was sent following hundreds of communications received by the MPs from constituents who work in a number of warehouse and distribution businesses operating in Rochdale and Oldham, raising their concerns.

“From the Prime Minister downwards, all the advice given tells us to stay at home, to protect our NHS and to save lives. Obviously, we rely on some key services such as healthcare, where our nurses and doctors and so many more are providing a tremendous service for our country.

Also, our care system, where carers are looking after some of our most vulnerable fellow citizens, and the police, who must continue to work to keep us safe.

Beyond these vital workers, it is hard to see why for just this brief three week period, which the government has asked us all to respect, companies can continue to operate unless they can define themselves as an essential service. 

Where people are asked to go into work, employers have a duty of care to ensure that people can work within the acceptable two metres of separation we have all been asked to follow. This does not simply apply to an employee’s work station, but in all communal facilities, canteens and access points.

This is now no longer an appeal, but a demand, for every employer, particularly across Rochdale, to ask themselves these three questions:

Firstly, is their work really essential?

Secondly, if it is, can they guarantee the health and safety of all their employees, expected to work onsite And thirdly, can they guarantee that the workforce can travel safely without putting themselves, and others, at risk.

We really do have to work together on this. Every employer who asks a non-essential employee to come to work is not only putting that employee at risk, but their family, their co-workers, and quite possibly those key workers in our NHS and other vital services, every time they catch a bus or train to work.

I have raised these concerns directly with JD Sports but this issue really needs to be addressed by every workplace across the borough. The Prime Minister has been very clear in Parliament that over this brief period of time, keeping people safe and protecting our NHS, is the number one priority for our nation. On this overwhelmingly we agree.”


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