Pickers at the Morrisons distribution centre in Burton Latimer have spoken of their ‘unfair’ working conditions.
The Northants Telegraph met five workers from the warehouse’s ambient section, who came forward after reading our story about working conditions at Kettering’s Wincanton site.
The workers, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of the sack, claim that they are treated unfairly and given unrealistic targets. Morrisons has denied the accusations.
One worker said: “I thought coming to a big firm, people would be treated fairly and equally.
“But I’ve quickly worked out they do not do that.
“It’s about as far from fair as it gets.”
The group, a mixture of English workers and EU nationals, say the high pick rate and picking system is against them, meaning targets aren’t always hit.
One worker alleged that the pick rate has been as high as 180 items an hour – despite a trip from one end of the warehouse to the other taking nearly five minutes – and staff have to lift up to eight tonnes a day.
He said: “The more we do, the more they want.
“They are never happy.
“It’s hard work physically and to do it for such long hours is tough.
“It’s too much but they don’t take that into consideration.”
The pickers say that the demanding work has led to a high turnover of staff.
One said: “A lot of people are leaving, I’d say about 30 left in two weeks.
“They can’t get anyone to work there.
“People do one shift and they don’t come back.
“Sometimes they don’t even finish their shift.”
One picker added that the lack of cleaning staff is causing health and safety issues, saying that rubbish is strewn across aisles.
He said: “Health and safety is really bad and it’s getting worse.
“They don’t really care.
“There’s so much rubbish on the floor and it just gets left there.
“Quite often we have to move it to get to items.”
The staff also alleged being followed to the toilet and working through breaks to avoid questioning.
They also claim that a number of Romanian and Moldovan employees who ‘don’t speak a word of English’ are being manipulated and are a danger.
One picker said: “When a fire alarm goes off some of them [the Romanians and Moldovans] carry on working.
“They don’t have a clue what is going on.”
A spokesman for Morrisons said it went to the site and said the issues raised by the workers ‘are not true’.
When asked to comment further, the firm declined.