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UK: Whistleblowers report 'sweatshop conditions' in PPE factory incl. timed toilet breaks, intimidation & 'impossible' targets

"Workers at Scots PPE factory ‘humiliated by bosses' who 'timed toilet breaks' in 'sweatshop conditions'", 12 September 2021

Workers making masks worn by frontline NHS staff for a firm awarded a £58 million UK Government contract were routinely humiliated and bullied by bosses.

Whistleblowers at Honeywell have come forward to make a series of shocking allegations at the Lanarkshire PPE factory, unveiled by former health secretary Matt Hancock, after getting the deal to manufacture 70 million face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Five female whistleblowers, all experienced production staff aged between 51 and 64, said workers were forced to meet “impossible” targets of making 600 medical-grade masks per hour, timed by managers as they did their job and when they went to the toilet, intimidated as they stood over them and ordered not to leave their seats.

Staff who struggled to meet targets, even those who were older or had disabilities, were reprimanded, with some even losing their jobs.

They were also forced to work in sweatshop conditions after the Motherwell factory’s air con system failed and, when they bought their own fans in, were told not to use them...

Some of the staff complained to Honeywell and Manpower, the recruitment firm who had employed them.

They then raised the issues with Central Scotland MSP Richard Leonard, who failed to get a response from Honeywell...

Honeywell said: “In partnership with the UK Government, Honeywell is committed to providing PPE for frontline healthcare workers.

“We abide by all laws and regulations in the countries in which we operate and expect our contractors to do the same.

“Honeywell provides safe and secure working environments and treats employees, including contingent workers, in an ethical manner.

“The complaints made by personnel contracted by Manpower are inaccurate and tarnish the hard work employees are putting in to combat the pandemic.”

Manpower was contacted but declined to comment...