HARIBO workers self-isolating as Covid outbreak confirmed at Pontefract factory

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HARIBO has confirmed an outbreak of coronavirus cases at its factory in West Yorkshire.

Ten employees at the company's distribution centre and factory in Front Street, Pontefract, are self-isolating after testing positive for the virus.

Staff who have been in close contact with the infected workers have also been sent home to self-isolate.

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HARIBO said strict health and safety measures are in place at the site and insisted the company had gone "above and beyond" Government guidance.

HARIBO distribution centre and factory in Front Street, PontefractHARIBO distribution centre and factory in Front Street, Pontefract
HARIBO distribution centre and factory in Front Street, Pontefract

Public Health England has been notified of the outbreak.

In a statement, a HARIBO spokesperson said: "We can confirm that ten individuals at our Pontefract site have tested positive for Covid-19.

"PHE has been notified and they have confirmed that the processes, controls and measures that we have in place are more than satisfactory.

"Each individual and those that have been in close contact are now self-isolating.

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"As a business we have consistently gone above and beyond the guidance set by the Government and follow strict internal standards around the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, which is our top priority.

"In addition to stringent hygiene measures that are already in place throughout our organisation, we operate our own internal track and trace system, strict social distancing measures are in place, everyone who can work from home is doing so and all colleagues and all visitors have their temperature checked before accessing our sites.

"We continue to enforce robust measures throughout our business."

Last month, the company - which opened the £92m factory and distribution centre in Pontefract in 2015 - confirmed it had entered into a consultation process with staff regarding redundancies.

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Pontefract MP Yvette Cooper said the “grim” news had been “even more of a blow” for employees who had kept working throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

She said Wakefield Council had already set up a team to support the workforce, but “urgent help” was needed from the Government.

“The country is already in recession - we badly need action from Government to prevent things getting worse,” Ms Cooper said. “That means at HARIBO we need support to help the workforce, to try to save jobs, and to try to prevent any job losses which are happening because of new machinery until after the recession is over.

“I am really worried not just about the job losses at HARIBO, but also about the timing when so many other local jobs are being hit because of the recession. And I have been in touch with GMB trade union who represent HARIBO workers and who are now assessing the proposals to see whether there are alternative ways to save jobs.”

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Managing director of HARIBO, Jon Hughes, said it needed to respond to “significant rising costs and the demands of a highly competitive market” in order to protect the long-term future of HARIBO manufacturing in Yorkshire.

He said: "We will provide all the support necessary as we consult with them about the best way to protect the future of HARIBO manufacturing in the UK."