UP to ten Covid cases have been linked to a Scunthorpe pork factory after workers were told not to wear masks, staff have claimed.
The Karro Food Group processing plant has been slammed by employees for allegedly not following coronavirus safety rules.
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Staff have reported a rise of cases in the last week, but the company says the workers testing positive for the virus caught it through "community contact".
One employee at the factory, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "Staff are dropping like flies and being sent home. There's around ten confirmed cases now.
"We have plastic screens up but that's about it. Staff have been trying to wear masks on the factory floor but been told to remove them or leave.
"Apparently face masks are classed as food hazards, but hair nets and snoods aren't.
"People are getting texts from Test and Trace now, telling them to get a test as they've been somewhere where people have tested positive.
"The factory has worked all through lockdown and now people are going off with the virus, they still refuse to close. It is putting not only their staff at risk but their families too."
'DROPPING LIKE FLIES'
The Karro Food Group, based in North Yorkshire, is one of the country's largest food processors. Along with Young's Seafood, it is owned by the Eight Fifty Group.
The Scunthorpe plant is a dedicated bacon and gammon slicing facility.
Another employee at the Foxhills factory said: "People have been sent home when they were told that people close to them have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
"What they are doing to staff is unfair. On Friday, everyone was wearing masks on the floor – but that was the first time in nine months.
"A friend of mine wore a mask at one point, and was told he wasn't allowed – he needed to remove it or go home."
North Lincolnshire has seen an increase in coronavirus cases over recent weeks, with public health officials warning people to take care both at work and home.
Earlier this year, Karro advertised for more than 100 roles in Scunthorpe to meet the demand from supermarkets during lockdown.
A Karro Food Limited spokesperson said: "We have a small number of unrelated Covid-19 cases which are as a result of community contact. The workers and close contacts are now self-isolating at home.
"We are continuing to follow government guidelines and doing everything possible to protect our people."
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