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Bidfood chief takes stand on ‘pingdemic’ to safeguard food deliveries

23rd Jul 2021 - 06:00
bidfood delivery pingdemic nhs app food andrew selley
Major foodservice supplier Bidfood is urging delivery drivers who get pinged by the NHS Covid app but test negative to continue working.

The policy was confirmed by chief executive of Bidfood UK Andrew Selley on Radio 4’s Today programme when he defended his approach for delivery drivers to continue working if they have negative results as ‘appropriate and safe’ because they are ‘critical workers’.

In a statement issued by the company Selley, speaking in his position as chief executive of Bidcorp UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bidcorp Group, said: “The hospitality industry has been through an incredibly turbulent 16 months, from lockdowns that have meant temporary and sometimes permanent closure of outlets, to supply issues as a result of panic buying, and more recently HGV driver shortages that are being felt across the entire supply chain.

“The current guidance regarding isolation is further exacerbating the strain on our industry and as key workers, we are asking the government to review and clarify their approach to exemptions so that we can continue to service our customer base, which comprises hospitals, care homes and police stations to name a few, all of which are also key workers providing critical care.

“Our 24 sites across the UK are operating in strict, Covid-safe environments to ensure we can stay legally compliant and keep our employees and our customers safe so that we can continue to provide our service to customers.

“We have worked incredibly hard over the course of the pandemic to ensure we keep everyone safe and operating within the legal requirements set out by government, and these measures are still very much in place.”

Rod McKenzie, from the Road Haulage Association, added: “We started off with a shortage of 100,000 drivers, and that's because we've always had a shortage of 60,000 and we've lost an additional 20,000 European drivers, add to that 30,000 cancelled lorry driving tests in the past year which haven't been made up.

“When you're that short on staff to begin with, and you have the pingdemic on top of that, you've got a recipe for chaos, and chaos is what we're now seeing unfolding in front of our eyes.”

Written by
David Foad