Matalan has offered all warehouse workers the option to be placed on furlough, after coming under fire for its health and safety conditions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
From 30 March, all workers at Matalan’s distribution centres in Knowsley and Corby have been offered the option to be placed on furlough and have access to government support packages where available.
As part of its coronavirus economic support package, the government has said it will cover 80% of salaries for workers for up to £2,500 a month. The grant is available to all UK businesses.
Workers’ union GMB had reported that Matalan Warehouse employees in Knowsley said they were “being forced to continue to work in cramped, overcrowded conditions”.
Greg Pateras, deputy chief executive of Matalan said: ”We’d like to be very clear on our response to this unprecedented global crisis. Matalan has always put our employees first, not only following UK Government guidelines, but on many occasions going above and beyond what the government has advised in order to protect our employees and customers, including;
- Closing all of our 232 stores prior to the government enforcing this,
- Closing all of our offices without being mandated to do so,
- Giving all our warehouse staff the option of immediate Furlough.
“We, as a Board, always have, and will continue to do what’s right for our people, in accordance with our strong family values and our own moral compass. Other than following the government guidelines, at no time have we been driven to action by a third party. We are a company that has consistently and demonstrably taken proactive actions that are in the best interests of our people at this critical time.
“Along with the rest of the retail industry, we will continue to operate our online business closely following the Government guidance and we would like to thank all our colleagues for their hard work, support and dedication during this incredibly difficult time.”