Raven Mill staff fear for their health amid apparent 'business as usual' approach

Date published: 03 April 2020

Employees at the Raven Mill in Chadderton are growing increasingly concerned about their potential health and safety following management's apparent disregard for the Government's strict social distancing measures at the site.

Clipper Logistics are currently operating returns and pre-retail services on behalf of fashion giants Very.co.uk at the Raven Avenue site, and business appears to be carrying on pretty much as normal.

With the Coronavirus pandemic currently threatening the health and lives of everyone, many Raven Mill employees are said to be shocked that they are still being ordered to work on site.

They have also been ordered not to contact the media, but a friend of one anonymous Raven Mill worker - who has worked there for a year - contacted the Chronicle in a bid to try and highlight the current concerns.

The employee's friend said: "There's still anything between 200 and 300 people working at the Raven mill at the moment, and there's hardly any social distancing going on.

"There have been signs placed on the floor about distancing, but it's too busy in there, too hectic, and they are just being ignored.

"Staff have not been given any personal protective equipment. They've been told they have to buy their own if they've any concerns.

"They're all working next to one another, they're opening packages with their bare hands, they don't know where they've come from.

"Apparently the two-metre distancing was introduced at one point, but that lasted an hour as people were told to get back to working normally.

"There's groups of managers walking around next to one another checking what's going on - it just doesn't make sense."

Another Raven mill employee told us: "We are scared to go into work.

"We are risking our lives here.

"We have little kids at home and old parents. It's not good for them when we return from work.

"It's really scary and really worrying."

Another said: "We have been issued letters to say we are key workers when we are clearly notm and have been told to not shame the company on social media.

"It's a very difficult time."

Clipper Logistics insist that they are continuing to monitor the situation daily, and that as a company it is adhering to current Government advice.

In a statement, they said: "The circumstances surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19) are evolving on a daily basis and have resulted in the need for Clipper to develop solutions to resolve the challenges placed upon the supply chain caused by the virus.

"We are continuing to monitor and adhere to all Government advice and information on a daily basis.

"We have been inundated with requests from our customers to provide supply chain support to the existing infrastructure as a result of the demands placed upon them by COVID-19, as well as receiving additional requests for support from a wider network of essential services, including major food retailers and other sectors of the economy.

"This encompasses warehousing, cross-dock, picking and transportation.

"We will continue to provide this support for as long as we are able to do so.

"We have also introduced warehouse initiatives in a bid to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our team members, which includes stringent social distancing measures and cleaning regimes across the shop floor, communal areas and outside spaces in line with guidelines from the Government and Public Health England.

"We are working tirelessly tofulfilgaps in the supply chain, to help our clients meet the significant increased demands placed upon them, whilst ensuring the utmost health and safety of our team."

Yesterday, we reported on local MPs Jim McMahon and Debbie Abrahams' demanding ‘clarity’ for local warehouse workers being exposed to COVID-19.

Oldham Council officials are also monitoring the situation at the site, as they are with all businesses across the borough.

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