Migrant workers are being forced to work without access to the same PPE (personal protective equipment) and paid leave for isolation and shielding that their British born colleagues are receiving in at least one Tesco distribution centre.
Managers are refusing to take the time to explain the changes in policy and what they mean for the staff in a way that can be understood despite the language barrier, and telling them to work above their usual pick rates despite the fact monitoring has been suspended for the duration of pandemic.
Whilst many reps are in self-isolation and the increased targets make it difficult for the staff to organise, they have produced a series of demands for their managers:
• Sterilisation of all equipment in between users
• Opening up offices and training rooms for use during breaktimes for social distancing
• Translating and explaining all policies in a way that all staff can understand
• Retaining the 10% bonus and beneficial rota changes after the crisis
•Trainees spread out across the distribution centre.
These demands are good and highlight no going back on improvements to our working conditions that we’ve won in this crisis, whilst making it clear that we as a class, regardless of national origin or language, are united against our bosses trying to wring us even harder.
The staff at the distribution centre should continue to organise together, and demand that USDAW take up that their fight.
• Charlie is an USDAW Rep in a large format Tesco store in London