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Dulux will reopen decorating centres and risk lives workers warn

DULUX workers have accused the company of reopening decorating centres before it is safe to do so, forcing non-essential staff to work or take unpaid leave.

The Morning Star was contacted by outraged workers at the paint company, whose stores will be reopening on May 4.

All staff had been initially furloughed until June 24 and then asked to take a week of annual leave.

The only instances where the company will still provide furlough is if staff have children to care for, or if they provide evidence of personal health conditions or those of an individual within their household.

A worker, who did not want to be named, told the Star: “I myself live with someone that has been identified as meeting the vulnerable criteria.

“But because they didn’t receive a letter to say they are within the high-risk category, my hand is being forced to put theirs and my health at risk, as I cannot afford to take unpaid leave and have no evidence to provide to the company to qualify for furlough.

“Many of my colleagues feel the same and are in similar situations.”

The worker said staff did not feel that the company will be fulfilling guidelines to protect them and warned authority figures against allowing companies to flout rules.

“If just one person goes against the grain, this pandemic will never end and more lives will be lost unnecessarily,” the worker added.

Dulux Decorator Centre managing director John Henderson said the safety of colleagues and customers was a priority, and that the company had been “working hard” to ensure they “safely provide a vital service for professional customers working on essential construction projects” including in hospitals and care homes.

He said: "We are currently operating a delivery only model from 51 of our Dulux Decorator Centre (DDC) stores for these trade customers.

"From this week, we are starting a phased return of our wider store network with a no-contact, call and collect model for trade account holders.

"No stores will be open to the public or walk-in customers at this time."

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been in direct contact with Dulux to say the industry should remain open provided health guidelines are followed, Mr Henderson added.

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