The “thank-you payment” includes staff who are, or have recently been, off sick
Burton’s has implemented social distancing policies and installed protective plastic screens across its bakeries
Burton’s Biscuit Company is paying workers in its bakeries a one-off bonus in recognition of the “unsung heroes” battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The maker of brands such as Jammie Dodgers, Wagon Wheels and Fish ‘N’ Chips this week made a “thank-you payment” of £100 to all workers in its five factories in recognition of the “outstanding support and commitment” to maintaining food supplies during the crisis. The payment includes staff who are, or have recently been, off sick.
It follows similar bonuses promised by all the major supermarkets to shop workers dealing with the pressures of unprecedented customer demand on the frontline.
Burton’s MD Simon Browne told The Grocer: “We’ve followed the government guidelines and taken steps to provide the safest possible working environment for all our bakery colleagues, which is enabling us to maintain production.
“This means we’re not only ensuring the nation has continued supply of household favourites such as Jammie Dodgers, Maryland Cookies and Wagon Wheels, we’re delighted to be supporting those unsung heroes who are taking the lead in the battle to combat Covid-19.”
Burton’s has implemented social distancing policies across all its bakeries, ensuring, “as far as possible”, employees remain two metres apart. As supermarkets have done, protective plastic screens have been installed at production line workstations where there is risk of direct contact or distancing of less than two metres.
Production lines have also been slowed down and, in some cases, stopped to ensure compliance.
Common areas have been marked out, including canteens, wash stations, changing areas and common areas, and social distancing marshals have been appointed.
“The way in which our bakery colleagues are meeting the challenge head-on, and following the guidance we’re providing, is hugely appreciated by everyone within and outside the company,” Browne added.
“The nation needs the food industry like never before and we really appreciate how our bakery workers are going the extra mile in extremely challenging circumstances. This is enabling us to play a key role in bringing some normality to people’s everyday lives at a time when they really need it.”
A spokesman said Burton’s was also “going above and beyond” the legal minimum requirement in many areas, including enhancing sick pay policy. The business has extended its self-certification period from seven to 14 days, with employees receiving statutory sick pay as a minimum from day one.
In addition, Burton’s is paying highly vulnerable staff who are self-isolating for 12 weeks in full, exceeding government requirements.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this before, but our employees’ determination to win through has been truly outstanding,” Browne added.
“It’s also reassuring to see a significant number of employees returning to work after sickness or self-isolation.
“We know that normality will return and when it does, we’re determined to be in the strongest possible position.”
The biscuit maker is also supporting the NHS, front-line emergency and care workers, as well as dozens of charitable organisations throughout the UK.
Burton’s is donating every biscuit manufactured between 8pm and 9pm every Thursday to the NHS - and will continue to do so for the duration of the nationwide ‘Clap for Heroes’ campaign. It gave away the equivalent of more than 93,000 packets of biscuits during the first week of the initiative.
Sofia Sheikh, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust charity director, said: “A simple thing like a biscuit should not be underestimated in times like these.”