Nottingham shoppers have spoken out over Wilko’s u-turn on a decision for staff that test positive for Covid to still work. People have described the policy as a ‘punishment’ for people getting Covid – and Wilko has now apologised, saying it was a ‘miscommunication’.
The Nottinghamshire-based company, which employs about 16,000 staff at more than 400 UK stores, outlined the updated policy as fears rise over increased hospital admissions due to the virus. However, the advice now given to staff members is to self-isolate while they’re no longer required by law.
Samantha Jones, 39, a carer from Broxtowe, thinks it is unfair to ‘punish’ people with Covid. The 39-year-old said: “It’s a personal choice. They’ve taken the staff choices away. They don’t work and then don’t get paid. They have to work.
“Nobody knows – anyone could have Covid. Do you just get on with it and treat it like a cold? If it was a cold you’d ring in sick.
“Do you isolate yourself but can’t get any money? It’s wrong – punishing them for having Covid.”
Colin Burrows, 53, a bartender, from Bilborough, said: “I know it’s a big company, they’ll still lose out on money. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask and if you don’t then you don’t.
“We’ve lived worse like in the 70s with the AIDS pandemic, everyone learned how to cope with it. Everyone has to learn – you can just keep hiding, you’ve got to live with it. There’s no law, no rules on it now. If you can take time off, put in a sick note.”
Rosita Kinteh, 65, from St. Anns, thinks it isn’t the staff’s fault. She said: “It’s one of those things you have to live with. People with medical conditions have it worse. If they have got it and have got to isolate then it’s not their fault.”
It comes after self-isolation rules were changed last month in England despite criticism from public health experts. The Government has also confirmed that free wide scale testing is due to end from April 1. In January, Wilko also confirmed plans to shut 15 stores in a move that unions warned could impact hundreds of jobs.
Jerome Saint-Marc, chief executive of the business, has now apologised and blamed “miscommunication”.
He said: “When we get something wrong, we hold our hands up, admit it and work to correct the situation,” he said. “Today’s news has highlighted some miscommunication within our Covid-19 policies, and I wanted to reassure all our customers and team members.
“Our advice to team members that have Covid symptoms or test positive is that while they’re no longer required by law to self-isolate, they should still stay at home and avoid contact with others. This will help reduce the chance of spreading Covid-19.”
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