Approximately 60 workers at Linden Foods site in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, have refused to start their shifts this morning, citing concerns over coronavirus control measures.

Unite the union said workers at Linden Foods have raised concerns about “an absence of social distancing measures on the boning line, in the canteen, and at entry and exit points”.

Unite regional officer Brian Hewitt said: “The company’s management has provided no additional wash facilities and failed to stagger breaks,” Hewitt said.

“Workers have been reporting to Unite that those exhibiting symptoms are still allowed to work as are those with family members who self-isolating as result of being in the high-risk health category. Everyone needs to take responsibility but the company’s actions are putting workers needlessly at further risk.


The 60 workers had refused to enter the factory out of “desperation and fear” for their health and wellbeing, Hewitt said. Workers have sought assurances from management that 2m spacing will be adopted throughout the plant.

Hewitt said Linden had to commit to provide comprehensive infection control measures to end the walkout.

It is the third such walkout at a meat processing facility in Northern Ireland after workers in Moy Park and ABP Lurgan downed tools also over concerns around COVID-19 earlier this week.

Linden Foods, a joint venture between Fane Valley Co-op and ABP Food Group, employs approximately 1,100 workers across its UK sites.

Linden Foods said approximately 40 employees from its total workforce did not attend work and that it had been actively implementing a range of measures across all sites to provide a safe working environment.

A spokesperson said: “We have doubled the size of our canteens, have erected new multiple handwashing units at the entrance to all our sites, increased sanitising units which are closely monitored, staggered breaks, erected new temporary changing facilities, carrying out temperature checks on all employees twice daily, reviewed social distancing and are installing screens and respacing work areas, increased PPE and undertaken additional training of our teams.”

“We fully appreciate and respect our teams who continue to attend work as key workers, ensuring that the food supply chain functions smoothly to keep the nation fed,” the spokesperson concluded.

Read more

Coronavirus: ABP says staff safety paramount after walkout

Coronavirus: staff walk out at ABP and Moy Park plants