Flixton factory staff refused Queen funeral holiday

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Published:
15:07 September 19, 2022



Workers at a local poultry factory have slammed their bosses, after being told to report to work on the day of the Queen’s funeral despite it being declared a public holiday.

Staff at the Hook2Sisters factory, near the Norfolk-Suffolk border, say they have been ordered to work, with Monday’s shift not earning extra pay or time off.

A company spokesperson said it needed to remain fully operational, to safeguard animal welfare and hygiene requirements, and to ensure it could “provide affordable feed in these times. hardships and help feed the nation”.

He said workers would get an extended break and free food during the day, with funerals being screened in canteens.

But the decision angered some staff.

A worker at the site, in Grange Road, Flixton – who wished to remain anonymous – said: “They don’t recognize the Queen’s funeral.

“We told everyone that we had to go to work.

“I have to miss the funeral and my chance to pay my respects to the Queen and go to work because I can’t afford to lose my job. No one is happy about that.”

The company’s spokesperson said: “As a UK-wide fresh food manufacturer, it is essential for us to have continuity of operations so that we can provide affordable food in these tough times and help feed the nation.

“In addition to maintaining supply, the very short notice of this public holiday has made it impossible for us to make any contingencies to safeguard animal welfare, food safety and hygiene requirements.

“Whenever there is a ‘punctual’ public holiday, for example this year’s Jubilee celebrations, we can plan accordingly and public holidays can be offered, as we have done this summer.

“Those working on Mondays will be entitled to an extended two-hour break, free breakfast and lunch, and funerals can be watched on screens in canteens.

“We recognize that some colleagues will need time off, and all managers have been asked to accommodate additional requests where possible.

“All colleagues have public holidays included in their leave entitlement, but the Monday public holiday falls beyond what we can offer, plus there is no legal entitlement for that day.”

When the government announced plans for a public holiday for funerals last week, it said it would operate in the same way as other public holidays, with no statutory leave entitlement.

He said employers can include public holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement.

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