IKEA in Reading has responded after a number of its employees tested positive amid a claim that other staff are not being allowed to self-isolate.
Seventy three workers have been told to self-isolate after 13 colleagues tested positive to the virus.
Yet one person, who wished to remain anonymous, has alleged that other staff members are ‘not being allowed’ to self-isolate – a claim the store rejects.
They went on to claim pregnant staff members are being put at risk by being required to come into work – which the store also says is not true.
Although the IKEA in Reading is closed to shoppers, staff continue to work at the megastore, which is operating a click and collect service.
The person said: “The truth of the amount of their employees that have tested positive with Covid-19…. there are a lot.
“The store is closed to the public but employees have had to work still, regardless that a lot of their colleagues have tested positive to Covid-19.
“Some workers have worked with those affected and by rights should be isolating but they are told they are not allowed.”
However, IKEA said that no co-workers are being forced to work and said those who can work from home are being asked to do so.
However, they said if any worker has concerns, they should raise them with their line manager.
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The company has confirmed a total 73 staff members have been told to self-isolate after 13 colleagues tested positive for coronavirus.
The remaining 60 were ordered to self-isolate by the NHS Track and Trace app.
Representatives for the IKEA in the Pincents Lane Industrial Estate in Calcot have stressed that staff are not being forced to go into work.
Kim Chin-Sung, IKEA Reading Market Manager, said: “The health and safety of our customers and co-workers is our top priority and we have extremely robust safety measures in place, including social distancing, protective screens and additional regular cleaning.
“On Saturday, we were made aware that a co-worker had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Shortly after this, other co-workers began receiving alerts from the NHS Track and Trace System in the normal way, and were immediately sent home to self-isolate on full pay.
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“In line with Government guidance, our store is closed to customers and is operating a contactless Click & Collect service.
“As an additional precaution we have significantly reduced our operation on-site.”
A total of 361 people are employed at megastore.
Kim Chin-Sung added: “No co-workers are being forced to work and those who can work or learn from home, are being asked to do so.
“Should any co-worker be concerned, we ask them to speak directly to their line manager. We are monitoring and managing the situation in accordance with our usual stringent processes and Government guidelines.”
IKEA has stressed the outbreak affects the store in Reading only, and does not affect other locations or employees at other locations.