Our Scottish depot began to reduce its operations at the end of March, as COVID-19 started to spread across the country. Those employees considered most at risk were asked to shield immediately, and then following Government advice – and as per EPC-UK guidelines – remaining employees were sent home at the beginning of April, to keep both themselves and their families safe.

Out of the six employees who are based at our Scottish site, Alan Falconer, Transport Manager – North with EPC-UK, has remained working throughout the ‘lockdown’ period:

“We have a number of customers in the area who have continued their operations and required EPC-UK to be on hand should they need any assistance. I have also been maintaining the depot and its assets in preparation for our return to full operation, whilst the rest of the team is furloughed.”

For many people being furloughed is a new concept, which is why EPC-UK has worked hard to ensure all employees clearly understand the situation and the reasonings behind any decision made. Effective internal communication, such as weekly telephone calls and dedicated WhatsApp groups for furloughed staff, has been imperative to maintaining successful relationships between management and their teams.
Kevin Garment, a Multiblend Operator with EPC-UK, agrees that constant contact has made a huge difference to him:

“EPC-UK has been brilliant throughout this entire period. The ongoing communication has been informative, constructive, and as positive as it can be in the current situation. Also, the financial top up of 20 percent is a fantastic gesture and one that is greatly appreciated.”

Paul Garment is also a Multiblend Operator working out of EPC-UK’s Scottish depot.  For him, the financial support was extremely welcome, whilst the ongoing communication has helped to keep him connected to the rest of the EPC-UK team.

“During lockdown EPC-UK has looked after me very well, topping up my wages with the additional 20 percent.  On speaking to family and friends, not every business has done the same,” explains Paul.  “The communication has been outstanding, with the HR department calling every week to ask how I am and to keep me up-to-date on how things are progressing with the business.  I have also been added to a WhatsApp group, which enables me to keep in touch with colleagues.”

Whilst furloughed, some members of the Scotland depot took advantage of supplementary training offered to them by EPC-UK and attended a six-week online shot firing course.  Not only has this helped to enhance their personal knowledge and skills, but it has also provided the depot with additional assets that can be offered to customers when the team returns to work.

Although there is no definitive restart date for the Scottish depot, Alan is already seeing a rise in the number of enquiries and hopes operations will increase very soon.  However, this will be done gradually and with the health and safety of employees coming first and foremost, as Alan explains:

“All employees who are returning to work will be expected to attend a mandatory ‘Back to Work’ induction, the aim of which is to ease the team back into employment.  For many it will be the longest period of unemployment they have experienced, and EPC-UK is sympathetic to this and ready to provide any assistance that is required to safeguard all staff members.

 

“Measures are already in place to help protect our employees, such as no entry to the main office, only one person at a time allowed in the canteen, plastic screens in vehicle cabs to prevent employees spreading airborne particulates, and increased stock levels of sanitisers and other cleaning accessories. We have also implemented a new daily vehicle clean down procedure.

 

“With only a small team of six working from the Scottish depot we are in a good position to manage and deal with the ‘New normal’ and are confident that we can keep our team safe, whilst still providing the high quality of service our customers have come to expect,” concludes Alan.