Princes Group Statement COVID-19 virus th
26 March 2020
Princes is experiencing unprecedented demand from customers across Europe as a result of this crisis and in order to meet these requirements the health and safety of our colleagues must always be our first priority. We continue to communicate and implement government advice on minimising the risk of infection with regard to social distancing and other measures at our manufacturing sites, and have taken a number of steps across our business.
We are closely monitoring use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all sites and taking steps to source more equipment in light of significantly increased demand.
Canteens and communal areas are either closed or being operated in line with government advice on social distancing and other preventative measures.
All colleagues who are able to work from home are doing so. Colleagues at English & Welsh manufacturing sites are classified as key workers by the UK government and can send their children to school if required but we are trying to minimise the use of this service as much as possible in line with government advice.
The Scottish government position is less clear and it is up to each Local Authority to determine if food and drink workers are offered schooling for their children. This is a concern for our Glasgow site and we continue to call on the Scottish government to provide more clarity.
Our IT team has significantly increased our ability for remote working and the vast majority of our office based teams across Europe are successfully working from home. We are providing guidance to all teams on efficient and safe home working, time management and offering mental health advice.
Our PIA (Princes Industrie Alimentari) operation in the southern region of Puglia is still operating but closed to all visitors and rigorous measures are in place to prevent the spread of infection, including social distancing. All nonessential activities have ceased and all colleagues are following measures required by the Italian government.
Our manufacturing output has significantly increased due to the unprecedented levels of demand and we are now responding to a request from the UK government for ambient grocery items to be provided in food parcels to be delivered to the most vulnerable members of society. This will impact the level of stock we can deliver to our customers in the coming weeks. We remain in constant contact with our customers and supply chain. However, whilst we are continuing to take all necessary steps to safeguard supply, we are also mindful that Covid-19 could have impacts on our business outside our control. If we believe supply disruptions are likely, we will communicate these as quickly as possible. We would once again call on members of the public to shop responsibly and to think of the impact on the wider community of their purchasing. Our supply chain is robust but extreme spikes in demand caused by bulk or panic buying is disruptive and exacerbates store availability issues. Finally I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of colleagues working in very difficult conditions in Princes and other factories, to the supermarket staff on the front line and to the millions of workers in food supply chains around the world who are responding magnificently to this crisis.
Cameron Mackintosh Managing Director