Police and council leaders call on workers to turn whistleblowers if employers flout Covid rules in Northamptonshire

Anonymity guaranteed for anyone feeling pressured to not do what is safe

By Kevin Nicholls
Monday, 25th January 2021, 10:35 am
Updated Monday, 25th January 2021, 10:38 am

Police and council leaders are urging workers to turn whistleblowers on employers breaking Covid rules.

Outbreaks at a number of distribution and manufacturing companies were followed by claims by staff they are being discouraged from revealing positive tests and to avoid Test and Trace calls.

Others fear the impact of not being paid if they are forced to self-isolate.

Thousands of workers across Northamptonshire have been told to self isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Photo: Getty Images

Corby council leader Tom Beattie promised anonymity to anyone coming forward with information and that all local authorities will act on reports

He said: “If we’re hearing stories about workers being discouraged from taking tests, reporting symptoms or even positive tests, then that worries me.

“I would encourage people to contact us at the council if that is the case.

They can do that anonymously, I give a commitment that we would not identify any worker in any industrial setting who is feeling under pressure to not do what is safe.

Cllr Tom Beattie

“They can call us or email us, speak to our environmental health officers and we can investigate to make sure workers are not put in that invidious position.”

Anyone notified they have tested positive must, by law, self-isolate for ten days along with any close contacts identified by Test and Trace.

Businesses can be fined up to £10,000 for if they knowingly allow a person to work when they should be self-isolating.

Northamptonshire Police has a webpage for reporting any Covid breaches and Superintendent Elliot Foskett added: “We work hand in glove with the Environment Health Agency and other partners, and anyone with a concern such as this can contact the Police, either anonymously online or call us.

“We work together to build a picture and if there are employers with this kind of practises going on — and they are probably few and far between — then report it and we will tackle it.”

Some Government support is available for workers self-isolating or shielding but Cllr Beattie said he has already raised issues over which categories of businesses are carrying on working through the pandemic.

He said: “A lot more people were furloughed in the previous lockdown and were able to stay at home.

“This lockdown is different and we continue to make that case with Government that people who do not have the ability to work from home should be supported, and the employers too.”