Claims about COVID-19 in meat plants and worker exploitation are ‘false and misleading’ – BMPA

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The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has described union claims that cases of COVID-19 in UK abattoirs are linked to migrant worker exploitation as ‘false and misleading’.

Responding to some high-profile cases of COVID-19 in meat plants, the Unite Union said the link between the outbreaks and ‘widespread exploitation of migrant workers on low pay and insecure contracts must be addressed’.

Although conditions within refrigerated meat processing factories have been cited as a risk factor, Unite claimed there was also a direct correlation between the treatment of migrant staff as ‘disposable assets’ and the spread of the disease in such environments.

It said this was particularly true in meat processing factories that do not provide staff that need to self-isolate with company sick pay or any other form of financial support, as it increases the danger of infected individuals going into work because they cannot afford to take time off.

Unite also claimed Industry employment standards are also directly linked to overcrowded housing which are a contributing factor to the risk of outbreaks within factories.

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