TS Tech employees fear new cases of coronavirus may not be picked up quickly because the firm is enforcing a phones-off policy at work.
It comes in the wake of a case of Covid-19 that resulted in several people being sent home after they were identified by the test and trace app as a close contact.
Staff received an email from MD Ryuichi Kanamori, seen by the Adver, suggesting the app is telling more people than necessary to self-isolate, so a stricter phones-off policy is now in place.
The email claims the app is identifying colleagues as close contacts without recognising they are behind shields, wearing PPE or working in an area below or above the person experiencing symptoms.
It adds: “Our company has been impacted very badly by a recent positive case of Covid-19 and the subsequent isolations required that were identified on the NHS Covid app. We would like to try and help the app identify those that are really at risk and believe one way this may work is to only have our personal phones switched on during… breaks.
“This has always been company policy but the company has been reasonably relaxed about this instruction in the last few years. We now need to put the policy back into place.”
The decision has not gone down well with some staff. One source said: “People are really worried and scared. If someone catches Covid or is near someone who did, they won’t find out until hours later when their break starts. In that time, they could have spread it to others without knowing.
“Production is lagging behind because so many people have been told to self-isolate. Bubbles are mixing as office staff are working on production so they can keep up with the demand from Honda. When the Covid protection measures were introduced in June, they were excellent and went above and beyond, but now it’s all gone out the window.”
A TS Tech spokesman said: “TS Tech can confirm that a small number of our employees have tested positive for Covid-19. We have also had a number of associates asked to self-isolate. We have been liaising with Public Health England on this matter and working with Swindon Borough Council. We had a visit from the local council’s representatives and they have confirmed we are following guidelines and a future visit has been organised.
“Our robust Covid-secure measures remain in place, and we have spoken with Public Health England over the use of the NHS app.
“Our health and safety and management team We are continually looking at ways to add in additional controls above and beyond the guidelines as our priority at the moment is the safety and well-being of our employees, and we wish those impacted a speedy recovery.”