The mayor of Leicester and labor advisers were warned three months ago that factories were operating in violation of Covid-19 rules but did not act, a former minister said.
Conservative politicians wrote to council members in April warning that some manufacturing premises appeared to operate in “closed premises”, risking the health of workers, as well as their families and the local population in general.
Baroness Verma, who was a development minister under David Cameron and presided over the conservative federation of the city, said she was concerned that factories were violating the strict rules of social removal, which required workers to stay within two meters away and wash your hands regularly.
The claims surfaced after Leicester became the first city in Britain to be locked up after public health officials voiced alarm over a significant increase in Covid-19 cases.
Last week a report by Labor Behind the Label, a clothing workers’ rights group, said that some suppliers operated factories without social exclusion measures.
The workers of the Leicester garment factories said so The Telegraph that while their jobs initially closed when the blockade was announced, they were reopened without any social distance or hygiene measures in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.
They said that the factory gates were closed, perhaps to give the impression that they were not open. The Executive Health and Safety (HSE) has confirmed that it is now “actively investigating three textile companies” in the city and has issued a formal improvement notice requiring a company to “take steps to control the risk of Covid-19 in locations. of work. “
In an e-mail to Labor advisors on April 18, Leicester conservatives said: “We had a number of people contacting us in fear that the factory owners were violating the law by appearing closed but with employees still working behind closed rooms.
“This is not only dangerous for factory workers, but also for families and wider communities in general. We want you to ensure that you are ensuring that these events are reported to the police and to commercial standards and actions taken immediately. Incredibly dangerous for frontline workers. “
Several advisers responded by stating that they were forwarding the email to Sir Peter Soulsby, the Labor mayor of Leicester.
Baroness Verma said, “It was an open secret that the factories were open. The concerns were about the conditions in which some of them were operating. Why didn’t the mayor and the councilors use intelligence and go out there?”
A spokesman for the Leicester city council said that factories could remain open “as long as they operate safely according to government guidelines” and that “ensuring safe operation in factories – including social distancing – is the responsibility of the health and safety manager. security (HSE) “. But he worked with HSE and other agencies to ensure a “common approach”.
In the meantime, two workers said they were afraid to return to the factories during the blockade.
One said: “The factories tried to hide the fact that they were open. All the factories were officially closed but work was going on inside. [The] the doors of the facade and of the factories were closed “.
Another said: “The main gate of the factory was closed and the workers were gathered inside through the back side.”
A Public Health England spokesman said: “There is no evidence that the increase in infection can be explained by outbreaks in nursing homes, hospitals or industrial processes.”