Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Coronavirus: Fear as Tayside industrial workers ‘pressured’ to work in non-essential roles

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a briefing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a briefing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Workers across Tayside have called for tougher government measures to force non-essential businesses to close.

A number of employees from various industries contacted The Courier on Wednesday claiming they were still being required to work on-site despite not being classed as essential workers.

The members of staff, who did not want to give their names due to fear of repercussions, carry out duties such as manufacturing shower wet walls, valves for the oil and gas industry and fuel dispensers, payment terminals and forecourt control devices.

An employee at Shore Laminates in Perth said: “We have staff travelling from Dundee and Fife, and staff who have diabetes, suppressed immune systems and who live with relatives with cancer.

“We’re supposed to be socially distancing but that’s difficult to do on some machines.

“I don’t think making shower wet walls is essential, and we hardly have any orders at the moment.

“I’ve spoken to my manager who said the decision is coming from head office, but HR is saying it’s up to the managers – there’s no clarity at all.”

An employee at Pacson Valves in Dundee said staff were under pressure to come to work, where they have to operate machinery together.

The whistleblower said workers had been advised the company would continue as normal until it was forced to close, and called for the government to do this sooner rather than later.

Similar concerns were echoed by employees at the city’s Dover Fuel Solutions.

Keith Crawford, co-director of Pacson Valves, conceded employees were not essential workers but said measures had been put in place to keep them at the recommended distance of 2m apart.

However, he admitted this was not always possible when workers were walking past each other.

He added: “We are following government guidelines on working from home and guidelines for working on-site, while trying to ensure employees continue to be employed.

“We are doing this until we are put fully on lockdown and the emergency passes.”

A spokeswoman from Dover Fuel Solutions said: “We believe that the work being done at DFS Dundee is considered an essential business, as it serves the fueling industry,  which is vital in providing transportation.

“We have implemented enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices, social distancing, travel and visitor restrictions.”

Throughout the UK, fashion chain Next is offering staff a 20% boost to their pay if they turn up to shuttered sites to sort clothes for online orders.

A spokesman for the company stressed the arrangements were voluntary and said: “A very small number of staff at any one time are required to help with online orders.

“This will enable social distancing whilst these tasks are performed.”

The official advice is that people should only travel to essential work if that cannot be done at home.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said if staff cannot work from home, employers should ask themselves whether their business is “essential” to the fight against coronavirus.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it could not comment on individual businesses but pointed to the latest guidance issued on Wednesday, stating all non-essential businesses must close.

Already a subscriber? Sign in