Nissan production hit as staff forced to self-isolate

Car manufacturer Nissan has seen over 10% of staff at its Sunderland production facility told to isolate after being alerted via the NHS Test and Trace app. Up to 900 workers are believed to have been sent home from the plant, which is located in a part of the country that has seen a significant increase in virus case numbers in recent weeks.

Many employers around the country have experienced staff absences as a result of the requirement to self-isolate, causing operational difficulties for numerous organisations. Earlier this week, 100 security staff at Heathrow Airport were told to self-isolate, leading to huge queues at the airport’s Terminal 5. In addition, luxury car maker Rolls Royce has said it may have to temporarily halve production at its plant in Goodwood, West Sussex, due to a large number of staff being required to self-isolate.

At Nissan, the company says production in some areas of its manufacturing plant has been adjusted to take account of the reduced number of available staff, adding that the safety and wellbeing of its employees was its first priority.

The hospitality sector, which is experiencing wider staffing shortages, is also concerned about further potential difficulties from staff having to self-isolate as virus figures in the UK continue to rise. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The sector is experiencing severe staff shortages, compounded massively by the absence of team members who have been told to isolate despite not having shared shifts with colleagues who tested positive.”

Responding to an announcement last week by the health secretary on plans for the workplace after the lifting of restrictions on 19 July, Nicholls added: “Introducing a test to release system for fully vaccinated people from the middle of next month not only fails to recognise the carnage the current system is causing hospitality and the wider economy, but also significantly discriminates against a huge proportion of our workforce. Around 60% of our staff are aged between 15-34 and the vast majority will not have had the opportunity to receive both jabs by the 16th August.

“With cases predicted to continue to rise, this means that hospitality’s recovery after 16 months of lockdown and severely disrupted trading will be harmed. Operators will be forced into reducing their operating hours or closing venues completely. We urge the Government to move quicker on this issue to prevent the summer being cancelled and vast swathes of the population unnecessarily confined to their homes.”

Image courtesy: Nissan

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