More than 20 cases of coronavirus at Royal Mail sorting office

More than 20 cases of coronavirus have been discovered at the Royal Mail’s sorting office in Cardiff.

A letter from the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), sent to its members working at the Royal Mail’s Penarth Road site, states there were 21 confirmed coronavirus cases in the last fortnight.

The union branch claims it has repeatedly called on the Royal Mail to improve its cleaning procedures and better inform its staff of any cases at the site.

It also believes there has been a “lack of urgency” shown by the company to contain the virus.

“Since the first case, the branch has been calling for a deep clean and regular cleaning on touch points,” the CWU letter states.

“This has fallen on deaf ears and we have only seen precautional and some intense cleaning carried out. The difference being in the strength of disinfection used.

“We have been informed that four-hour cleaning has been put in place for the touch points. The branch feels this is still not adequate as we have a 24-hour/seven-day-a-week operation.

“We will be pressing Royal Mail for more cleaning hours for touch points as this is vital, especially in communal areas such as toilets and canteen.”

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The letter adds: “Royal Mail management keep on saying they are keeping the workforce updated. However, the branch is being constantly contacted by members saying they have had no information – and even operational managers tell us they are also being kept in the dark.

“Royal Mail management continually keeps blaming our members and one example is those who attended a leaving gathering over a month ago. The branch has continuously challenged this narrative from Royal Mail.

“If you have been in contact with someone who has been informed that they have tested positive for coronavirus or yourself are showing symptoms, please contact NHS Wales 111 (who are the experts), as we have been informed that managers are giving ill-informed advice.”

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A spokeswoman for the Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers, and the local communities in which we operate very seriously.

“A number of colleagues have tested positive for coronavirus over the last three weeks at the Cardiff mail centre. They have mild symptoms and are now recuperating at home and we wish them a speedy recovery.

“We have carried out an intensive clean of the full site and have organised additional regular cleaning of all communal areas. We are working closely with Public Health Wales and the local authority.

“We are also keeping the CWU and colleagues updated. We are currently processing mail as normal at our Cardiff mail centre and the office is open as normal.

“Throughout this crisis every decision we make puts the health of our people and customers first. We have put in place a range of preventive measures to protect both our customers and our colleagues. We were the first UK company to put in place social distancing measures in relation to parcel delivery. We pioneered contact-free delivery. We are temporarily not handing over our handheld devices to customers to capture signatures.

“As well as encouraging good hand hygiene, standard ways of working have been revised to ensure that colleagues maintain appropriate social distancing at all times. All staff have been briefed about the social distancing measures jointly agreed by local management and the CWU. This has been supplemented with visible reminders such as posters and one-way floor markings.”

WalesOnline – Cardiff