Throughout the pandemic manufacturing businesses have led the way by remaining open and operational through implementing the highest Covid safety standards. However, the ‘pingdemic’ has left many manufacturers battling an additional crisis, with some forced to shut down parts of their production after up to a third of their workers were forced into self-isolation.
Make UK’s survey of manufacturers in July found that:
• 77% of companies have been impacted by NHS Test and Trace
• 66% of companies backed bringing forward the 16th August rule change for self-isolation
• 13% of companies said some production stopped as a result of self-isolation
• Three in five companies said a small number of staff were isolating, 14% said a large number
• Almost a quarter said up to 10% of staff were isolating, almost 1 in 10 said up to 25%
• 97% of companies backed free lateral tests for employers, while a similar number said Statutory Sick Pay should remain available for employees isolating from day one
On the back of compelling evidence from across the manufacturing sector, Make UK called for the end of self-isolation for fully vaccinated workers to be brought forward from 16 August, free lateral flow tests and Statutory Sick Pay to be offered from day one.
Political engagement – making your voice count
Equipped with the very latest data and information from manufacturers, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive and Make UK’s Government Affairs team raised ‘pingdemic’ issues directly across Whitehall, with the Secretary of State for Business, Kwasi Kwarteng, and BEIS officials.
Make UK held calls and virtual meetings with Cabinet Office officials to provide details of the latest impact and issues across manufacturing.
Following ongoing talks with Labour’s business team and through Make UK’s evidence, Labour publicly called for the Government to bring forward the date on which double jabbed people will to not self-isolate. On Friday 30 July, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer publically joined the call for the government to bring forward the date.
Making the voice of manufacturing heard in the media
Make UK secured extensive coverage in national and local press and broadcast media, as we kept the pressure on Government to take a more pragmatic approach towards manufacturing.
Over 360 mentions in the media of Make UK and the impact of the pandemic on manufacturing
- Channel 4 News, Make UK's Ben Fletcher
- BBC, Today Programme Radio 4- Make UK's Ben Fletcher
- Pingdemic could bring economy ‘grinding to a halt’, business warns | The Independent
14/07/2021- Financial Times lead story online and hard copy, Jim Pickard
The Delta variant of coronavirus is wreaking havoc on industry, with more than 700 workers at the UK's largest car factory self-isolating and business groups warning that some companies are missing 20 per cent of their staff. Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, which represents UK manufacturers, said that the "need to isolate, even without symptoms, is now a serious issue and impacting on production".
20/07/202- The Daily Mirror, Ben Glaze
Stephen Phipson, chief executive of manufacturers' trade body Make UK, said: "This problem has escalated significantly over the last week, with not just an impact on production but shipments of goods going overseas. This is a serious issue affecting companies of all sizes and sectors."
25/07/2021- The Sunday Times, Lead business story, Sabah Meddings
While Coppa Club has been able to hire extra staff 200 over the past two weeks not all businesses have been able to adapt. Last week, a survey from Make UK, which represents manufacturers, found that 13 per cent of companies had been forced to stop some production. Almost a quarter said that up to 10 per cent of staff were isolating. "The impact on manufacturing continues to increase rapidly and there remains an inconsistency of government policy that allows non-vaccinated people into nightclubs, while those who have had both jabs are asked to isolate," said Stephen Phipson, Make UK's chief.
Mentions and interviews across TV and Radio: Channel 4, Sky News, BBC 2 and BBC radio 4
294 mentions in regional publications, such as the Westmoreland Gazette, Bolton News, South Wales Guardian, Sunderland Echo, Halesowen News, Shropshire Star and East London & West Essex Guardian
Make UK contributed to the Government softening its approach to self-isolation. Through the introduction of exemptions, we have seen companies notify their relevant government departments of critical staff that can continue working through a test regime instead of isolation.
Make UK continues to call on Government to:
- Allow employers to access free lateral flow testing kits.
- We’ve kicked off the #Day1forEveryone campaign to keep the eligibility for statutory sick pay to day one, not four.
- An extension to Mental Health support for employees
In collaboration with Mind, this week Make UK have released the Health and Wellbeing 2021: The importance of mental health | Make UK report. The report explores the importance of mental health, why manufacturers should invest in health & wellbeing and top tips for businesses to support employees.