• Luke has written to Sitel about government guidelines after reports of poor social distancing, but is still waiting a week later
  • Several constituents have written to Luke about this issue
  • Luke has also written to the Health Secretary

Luke came out in support of workers, including his constituents, after reports that the call centre operated by Sitel in Derriford was not operating adequate social distancing practices.

Luke had this to say:

“The NHS 111 service is a vital lifeline and I want to thank all those people who are going to work to provide it. But they need to be kept safe and that means ensuring best practice is followed. People have told me that they have concerns this is not always happening at the moment and that is the reason why I have spoken out.

I have written to Sitel about these concerns but have not yet received a reply. I know some people who live in the patch I represent and work for the company are very concerned about the working practices and have whistle-blown to me as their local MP. I hope the company acts swiftly to address these concerns and ensures that they are doing their bit to slow the spread of the virus.”

Some of the concerns raised include:

  • 150-200 staff are still being required to travel to an office every day, working on one floor of the same building
  • They are working “desk to desk”, in close proximity and not following social distancing guidelines
  • Hot-desking is still in operation
  • There is no deep cleaning of working spaces taking place
  • There have been some reports that people have been instructed to go to work when they have family members who are showing symptoms of Coronavirus
  • There is widespread concern that Management are not following guidelines on keeping people safe and are requiring people, even those closely associated with people who are self-isolating, to come to work or risk their employment

Although some people who are unhappy about Luke raising this issue, Luke’s job is not to stick up for bosses when the workers have genuine and legitimate concerns, but to get stuck in approach to defend people’s rights at work. Every company should be protecting staff at work at this worrying time.

Whistleblowing is incredibly important and it is not easy. It is protected by law and at this time we need all employers – especially those providing frontline services – to do all they can to keep people safe. If you have any problems you can contact Luke on luke.pollard.mp@parliament.uk

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