Flixton factory staff refused Queen’s funeral holiday

15:07 September 19, 2022

Workers at a local poultry factory have criticized their bosses after being told to report on the day of the Queen’s funeral, despite it being declared a public holiday.

Staff at the Hook2Sisters factory, near the Norfolk-Suffolk border, say they are ordered to work, with the Monday shift earning no extra pay and no time off.

A company spokesperson said it needed to remain fully operational to ensure animal welfare and hygiene requirements and to ensure it “can provide affordable food and help nourish the nation during these difficult times.”

He said workers would be given extended breaks and free food during the day, while the funeral would be screened in canteens.

But the decision has sparked anger among some employees.

An employee at the site, on Grange Road, Flixton – who wished to remain anonymous – said: “They do not recognize the Queen’s funeral.

“Everyone has been told to get to work.

“I have to miss the funeral and my chance to pay my respects to the Queen and go to work because I can’t afford to lose my job. No one is happy about it.”

The company spokesperson said: “As a UK fresh food manufacturer, it is essential for us to have continuity of operations so that we can provide affordable food during these difficult times and help feed the nation.

“In addition to maintaining the supply, the very short notice of this holiday made all unforeseen circumstances to ensure animal welfare, food safety and hygiene requirements impossible for us.

“When a ‘one-off’ holiday is planned, for example this year’s anniversary celebrations, we can plan accordingly and holiday leave can be offered, as we did this summer.

Those who work on Mondays are entitled to an extended two-hour break, free breakfast and lunch, and the funeral can be viewed on screens in canteens.

“We recognize that some colleagues need time off, and all managers have been asked to accommodate additional requests where possible.

“All colleagues have included public holidays in their leave entitlement, but Monday’s public holiday is beyond what we can offer, besides there is no legal entitlement to this day.”

When the government announced plans for a public holiday last week for the funeral, it said it would operate in the same way as other holidays, with no legal right to time off.

It said employers can include public holidays as part of an employee’s right to leave.

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