Union representative John McGookin has claimed that half of the workforce at Swindon's XPO Logistics depot are absent.

The Iceland distribution centre is currently at the centre of a small-scale coronavirus outbreak. As of Friday, 64 people had tested positive for the virus. 

Speaking to BBC Radio Wiltshire this morning, Unite's MrMcGookin said employees were worried about going in to work.

“The vast majority of the workforce who wanted to be tested have been tested. There was over 520 tests carried out over three days," he told the station.

“That doesn’t deal with the main point, which is confidence in coming to work because people are still terrified of the potential of catching covid.

“As I understand it now, a lot of the workforce have voted with their feet and decided it’s not safe to go to work at the minute.

“What I do know is they’re struggling to get the deliveries out, given the number of people who are either isolating because of track and trace or are currently positive and those people who are absent is at least half the workforce."

He added: “We’ve asked the company, XPO, to consider locking the site down. We’ve been advised by the company that as it’s a major food hub for the south west that is not something they will consider. Public health have told the company that they’ve done everything they can but still haven’t given that level of confidence to its workforce and in fairness to the general public.”

The Adver understands that only a few workers at the XPO site are self-isolating, who have either tested positive or are absent for other reasons. 

Last week, the firm said: "Protecting our employees is our number one priority. We’re working closely with the local authorities and adhering to all local and Public Health England guidance to ensure the appropriate health and safety measures are in place."