GKN and MHI Vestas respond to News OnTheWight’s questions about workers still being onsite

Here are the responses GKN and MHI Vestas gave to News OnTheWight after Islanders got in contact with us about their concerns that people were still working on site

factory worker

As reported on Wednesday there have been concerns from some on the Isle of Wight that employees are being asked to continue working despite the Stay at Home and Save Lives.

OnTheWight got in touch with two of the largest employers, who still have staff working on their sites.

We asked the companies:

  • Has the number of people working for been reduced since the C19 outbreak? If so, by what percentage?
  • Following the government’s ‘stay at home’ advice of this week, do you have any plans to reduce numbers further on IW?

GKN: Reduction of staff on site
A spokesperson for GKN Aerospace told OnTheWight,

“In terms of numbers of people on site, absolutely the numbers have gone down since Covid-19 began.

“Obviously – for us like everyone else – there are a mix of reasons but just a couple of these are:

– internal health and safety measures requiring ‘higher risk’ employees to go home for their safety (we gave every employee a questionnaire to identify those who needed to be home for their own good some time ago), and

– the Government’s directive that everyone who can work from home must do so. We had already enacted that for those who could WFH but, since Monday evening, every business must now do the same.

“Of course, there are also people self-isolating etc so no doubt we, like everyone else, will have seen a change since the Covid-19 outbreak began.”

Does GKN have plans to reduce further?
In response to OnTheWight’s second question the spokesperson said they wouldn’t go into specific numbers, but replied,

“It’s not really about our choice for taking numbers down. Our role is to follow Government guidance (which states that it’s ‘important for business to carry on’) and to do so in the safest possible way for everyone on site.

“What our numbers are on-site depends on a few things – such as Government guidelines (eg everyone has to work from home or not), the numbers of people needing to self-isolate etc – which we don’t really control.”

MHI Vestas: Following government guidance
OnTheWight asked the same questions to MHI Vestas, who are based at Stag Lane, Cowes.

A spokesperson for the company told OnTheWight,

“Firstly, we want to extend our thanks to our employees who are answering the government’s call during this difficult time, for their hard work and understanding.

“We have had a number of employees split across our shifts deciding to self-quarantine for health and safety reasons, either due to experiencing flu-like symptoms themselves or having family members who are currently feeling unwell. We cannot comment further on the numbers.”

MHI Vestas: Trying to do our part
They went on to say,

“At present, we are following government guidance which explicitly requests that businesses should not close, aside from those listed as non-essential shops and public venues, as it is important that the economy carries on during this difficult time.

“Workers involved in manufacturing are unable to perform their work from home, and the government has advised that these workers should continue coming to work. In following this guidance, we don’t anticipate sending workers home, nor have we sent workers home in our other facilities globally.

“MHI Vestas recognises the enormity of the challenge being faced by the UK and its critical services such as the NHS, and we are trying to do our part to ensure the country safely outlasts the COVID-19 challenge.”

Image: christopher burns under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 26th March, 2020 1:31pm


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Filed under: Business, Government, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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4 Comments on "GKN and MHI Vestas respond to News OnTheWight’s questions about workers still being onsite"

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Alternative Perspective

It’s a little more complicated than simply 2mt social distancing

If an infected worker, who may not appreciate they are infected, coughs, or sneezes, and say contaminates their hands, then touches surfaces, components they can transfer the virus to another co-worker if that co-worker touches the infected surface and then their face.

Close down.


Goes to show where priorities lie. After all they can always replace a numbered worker ……..


Profit above health and safety.


GKN are a joke, 7 hours on site not a sniff of a cleaner, shifts crossing over, no hand sanitizer at staff entry points or click in machines.
Over 60’s workers and staff with COPD and similar classed as low risk and told they have to come in, or not get paid.
I could go on…..