Corby steelworkers told to follow Covid rules or risk not getting paid after positive cases at Tata double

The firm says that the number of people isolating has had a 'huge impact' on operations at the Weldon Road site

By Kate Cronin
Friday, 27th November 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 12:35 pm
Tata workers have been told to follow the rules or risk not getting paid
Tata workers have been told to follow the rules or risk not getting paid

Bosses at Corby steelworks have told employees that if they are caught breaking government guidelines in or outside of work, they could face disciplinary action.

After cases at Tata doubled, and the number of people self-isolating rose to 27, workers were told in a memo seen by the Northants Telegraph that anyone who is deemed to not be following social distancing rules might not be paid if they subsequently have to self-isolate.

Tata mangers said that people who have to isolate 'because of their own actions' might have to forego their wages.

Steelworkers at the Weldon Road site say they are 'disgusted' by the memo and are concerned about how decisions on the controversial ruling will be made.

The memo read: "Covid cases are rising on our site. Although absolute numbers are still relatively low within the past week we have seen a doubling of confirmed cases that we have had on site since the beginning of the pandemic.

"In addition, this week we have 27 employees isolating. This has had a huge impact on our operations and in recent weeks we have seen areas of our site having to close for at least one shift because of the number of isolations.

"This provides a stark reminder that we cannot afford to let our guard down in our bid to keep our workplace operating safely and free from coronavirus.

"While it is imperative that employees follow the rules and isolate if they, or someone that they live with, or are in a bubble with has symptoms of or tests positive for Covid-19, it is also important that employees follow all the rules to ensure that as a far as possible they do not put themselves in a position where they need to isolate.

"Employees who have to isolate because of their own actions or lack of adherence to the rules (both inside and outside of the workplace) may render themselves liable to disciplinary action and may not be paid for any resulting periods of isolation."

One employee said: "Workers are disgusted. How do they police this? Who decides who gets paid and who doesn’t? Most office staff are working from home so don’t have the same risk as the workers attending site."

The Northants Telegraph understands that Tata will not be carrying out social media checks on whether employees are obeying the rules but have put in place options for those returning from holiday or person travel including allowing them to use their annual leave for the quarantine period, take unpaid leave or work from home.

A Tata Steel spokesman said: “The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority and we continue to manage and monitor the situation around coronavirus carefully.

“As well as government advice and rules we are working closely with employees and their trade union representatives to ensure the latest and best information, safety and hygiene equipment is available.

“We are asking all employees to follow advice and ensure they minimise any risk to themselves, their families and colleagues during these challenging times.”

The Community Union, which represents some workers at the site, declined to comment.