FURIOUS staff at a Johnstone plumbing firm say bosses are putting “profit before people” after being told to turn up for work during the coronavirus lockdown. 

It was business as usual yesterday at McAlpine Pluming a day after it was announced all non-essential workplaces should close with immediate effect.

Union leaders have now got involved and reported staff at the Floors Street firm are having to use public transport in order to make it to work. 

READ MORE: Hundreds of staff told to come into work despite government ban

It comes as businesses across Renfrewshire shut their doors for the foreseeable future as the area was placed on lockdown this week in a bid to beat coronavirus. 

One McAlpine worker, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Gazette: “It is absolutely disgusting, considering they claim to be a family company, they are putting profit before anything else.

“The product we make is so assembly based as well so there are lots of hands touching it. There is no way to stop germ spreading.

“It’s disgusting.”

Unite the union has now got involved and demanded clarity over what qualifies as an “essential worker” after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined a string of new measures to tackle Covid-19’s spread. 

The Gazette: First Minister Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon

David McGurk, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Unite was informed that McAlpine Plumbing which has multiple operations across greater Glasgow is categorising its workforce as essential which we believe to be totally incorrect.”

The Gazette made multiple attempts to contact McAlpine but was told no one was available to comment. 

A number of other firms in Renfrewshire are continuing to operate as normal despite the shutdown and have argued they are part of the “essential workforce”. 

The Gazette: Hundreds of workers were still being told to turn up to Rolls Royce yesterday Hundreds of workers were still being told to turn up to Rolls Royce yesterday

Hundreds of staff at Rolls Royce, in Inchinnan, attended work at the factory yesterday as did workers at Linwood’s WH Malcolm. 

A spokesperson for Rolls Royce said: “Our facilities produce the vital components that keep passenger and cargo aircraft operating.

READ MORE: More than 1,000 Renfrewshire Council workers in self-isolation

“We would not put our people in harm’s way.”

The Gazette: Allan Henderson, chair of the Johnstone Business Consortium Allan Henderson, chair of the Johnstone Business Consortium

Allan Henderson, chair of the Johnstone Business Consortium, said: “The bottom line is that it is not law that we shut and it is so unclear what we were told on Monday night. There is a lot of uncertainty.” 

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