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7 Apr 2020

Hannah Miller, ITV News

UK: JD Sports warehouse workers concerned over COVID-19 infection risks; Union says warehouse should close

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""I'll be fired. They're putting lives at risk": Blind JD Sports warehouse worker speaks out over coronavirus concerns", 6 April 2020

A worker at JD Sports has spoken out about his concerns that ‘lives are being put at risk’ by the company’s warehouse in Rochdale staying open.

Joe Gilchrist... [is] registered blind and has asthma, and wrote to his bosses requesting he be furloughed under the Government scheme that will cover 80% of wages for anyone unable to work. JD Sports refused his request in writing, saying he should continue to come to work, take unpaid leave or use up his holiday entitlement.

Joe says the company is putting ‘profit before people’...  [I]n recent weeks ITV News has received messages from several other anonymous JD Sports employees. One described the warehouse as ‘a breeding ground for Coronavirus’.

A representative from the union USDAW... [said] they’ve been ‘inundated’ with concerns from around 200 individuals working at the site. The union describes the work is ‘non-essential’ and says the warehouse should close...

After several employees raised concerns, Rochdale Council carried out an inspection of the warehouse. It found that while the company had taken steps and precautions to ensure social distancing was introduced, the company could do more...

JD Sports say their priority is "the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers during this difficult time."...