Walker Modular staff laid off during coronavirus outbreak

A Hull business has made its employees redundant and offered them just £29 a day for the next working week, staff claim.

Walker Modular, a bespoke bathroom pod manufacturer that has two sites in Hull, allegedly told a number of staff members on Friday that they are being made temporarily redundant due to the coronavirus outbreak.

To add insult to injury, staff members say the company offered to pay them just £145 for five days.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said she has worked at Walker Modular for nearly seven years and was shocked by the news.

She claimed: “They said we will get £29 for five days and none after that. I couldn’t believe it. They said they cannot give us the 80 per cent of our wages offered by the Government.”

Walker Modular off Marfleet Avenue
Walker Modular off Marfleet Avenue

Earlier this week, the Government unveiled the Furlough Scheme to help employers temporarily made redundant by companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Employers are able to apply for the scheme via HMRC.

The woman added: “They said there is no scheme to apply for and it wouldn’t be coming, but said they will keep in touch for when our jobs are open again.”

The staff member said she will now be forced to claim benefits.

She said: “I was really upset at the time and now I’m fuming. I have worked there for nearly seven years. They said they will be laying off the production line on Monday.

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“I’ve tried to get through to HR and I can’t. They employ hundreds of people. I’ve spoken to a few of my work friends who have also been told the same. I will have to claim, they said that.

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“I’ve worked there a long time, there is no loyalty to staff. I did think they would close but the 80 per cent of our wages would be on offer.

“I have never had to claim before, I’ve always had a job and have worked since I left school. I don’t know how to go about it and I’ve never thought about having to.

“They said they will be in touch for when our jobs are open again but I don’t want to go back now.”

The woman said that during the coronavirus outbreak, government and expert advice on how best to prevent the spread has not been adhered to at Walker Modular.

She said: “There are no hand sanitisers, they run out of soap and there is no social distancing. Sometimes you can have two to three people working inside the bathroom pod which is very small.”

Another woman who works at Walker Modular said she called Citizen’s Advice for guidance on what to do after she was told she will lose her job.

The woman, who also did not want to be named, said: “I’ve been there five and a half years. Citizens Advice said if they don’t want us back they will have to make us redundant but if they are temporarily laying us off they will have to give us the 80 per cent but they’re not doing that.

“I was very shocked. They said they are reducing the production line. It came out of the blue and they are not answering our questions. I asked if they were making us redundant and they said they will get back to us on Monday.

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“I can’t believe it. I expected a bit more, they’ve always been ok with me. I know they laid 25 people off on Wednesday and someone who has been with the company for 12 years got laid off on Thursday.

“I think they are keeping the managers and supervisors on to keep the pods going. I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t think they are following the right precautions and we can’t get through to anyone in HR.

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“Citizens Advice have said to wait to see what they say on Monday and if they say the same thing to ask for a written reason as to why they are no paying us the 80 per cent of our wages.”

Walker Modular have been contacted for comment

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