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Matalan agrees to furlough staff at Liverpool Warehouse

Tom Shearsmith
31 March 2020

Matalan, the British fashion and homeware retailer, has agreed to furlough staff at its Liverpool warehouse after concerns were raised that social distancing rules were not being followed.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the company said it would now furlough workers on a voluntary basis under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Anyone volunteering to be furloughed will receive 80% of their salary through the Government scheme and will not be required to report for work.

Environmental health officers inspected the site on Friday and officials from the GMB union met managers yesterday to express their concerns, resulting in the decision to furlough staff.

A spokesperson for Matalan said: “Along with the rest of the retail industry, we continue to operate our online business closely following the Government guidance, going above and beyond to ensure the safety of both our employees and our customers.

"Over the past few days, we are pleased to have received approval from both the Environmental Health Officer (the EHO) and a representative of the GMB, who have both visited our Knowsley DC and have both deemed the site safe to work.

"Furthermore, since these visits we shut down our warehouse for 3 days to undertake a deeper clean of the site.

"We are taking our responsibility as a large North West employer to look after our staff extremely seriously. We are therefore now going one step further and all our colleagues are being offered the option to stay at home and be placed in furlough from the 30 March for the time being. This will ensure that those who choose not to come to work, have access to government support packages where available.

"We will continue to operate online with continued strict health and safety regimes in place. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have closely followed the Government guidance and WHO and have operated our warehouses with a number of precautions in place to enhance everyone’s ability to operate safely. We have continuously increased these measures further as official advice has developed and will continue to do so."

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