Covid 19 Aberbeeg
Blackwood Engineering will use this page to share Covid 19 related information.
- HR 01495 366648
- Operations / Site 01495 325515
- IT 01495 366646
We hope that everyone is well.
It’s hard to believe that we are now into the month of July. Work at Aberbeeg has remained at a pretty consistent level throughout this month but significantly below pre Covid volumes.
At the moment we still only need to run two shifts and this is highly likely to be the case into July and beyond.
Last week the Mike Powell and Mark Owen shift rotated with the Lee Owen and Mathew Jones shift. This pattern of rotation is currently planned to last until the end of July. This ensures that every shift has worked 7 weeks and been on furlough for the remainder of time. After July, when teams have completed their 7 weeks and the scheme allows more flexibility we may look to change the amount of time between rotating people. We would welcome employees thoughts on this matter. For example 1 week on/ 1 week off or 3 day week one week and 2 day the following week. If you have any feedback please give this to your team leader or Nia.
Please remember that going forward all roles will not be suitable for rotation and some employees will therefore spend less or no time on furlough.
We would also like to update everyone on the holiday situation. For those who have made request for specific dates , we are pleased to confirm these have been granted. If people have not made specific requests , you will be allocated the remainder of your days in June or July and this will be confirmed on your pay slip one mouth in arrears as normal.
All staff at Aberbeeg will return to work for at least 2 mornings a week from Thursday the 2nd and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back.
We would like to thank everyone for your continued support and flexibility.
We hope that all our employees and your families are keeping well.
In early July we are planning to return all our office staff to work for at least 2 mornings per week. For some people this will involve physically returning to the Aberbeeg site and for others working from home. Your line manager will be in contact shortly to discuss details.
From a UK factory prospective, for the foreseeable future we will be continuing to operate 2 shifts and we are planning to rotate the shift again shortly. Your line manager will be in touch with you regarding details.
In line with our previous risk assessment, we are planning to keep some people on furlough and this will be the case until at least 16th August. If you are one of those individuals but feel your circumstances have changed, please contact Nia and we will reassess your situation.
Regarding your holidays, we are planning to review requests next week and we will feedback to you individually. For those of you have not requested specific dates, holidays will be allocated to you.
If anybody has queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on any of the above numbers.
We hope everybody has a good weekend.
We hope you and your families are well.
A quick update on how work is progressing in Aberbeeg . On the 1st of June we introduced a second shift bringing the total to 22 employees now back in production , and the office has also reopened with 4 employees.
Many new measures have been introduced to the Aberbeeg site to reduce covid-19 risk including extra hygiene measures, segregation of departments and the separation of prep shop bays. There is a new TBT which all employees are given when they return to site.
In the last update we covered how we proposed to manage the 2020 holiday calendar. We have tried to communicate directly with those on site and we also know that line managers have been communicating with those who are on furlough. For anybody who has not been communicated with directly, we will attempt to make contact with you next week. If anyone is unclear about the holiday situation, please call Nia.
The important message regarding holidays is that everyone needs to take 14 days holiday before the 9th of August. Any holidays you have already booked will still stand but unlike before, you now need to book a holiday if you want to take time off during Summer shutdown, and this needs to be submitted before the 12th of June.
Please submit requests via email to Nia.email@example.com These will then be authorised as soon as we have evaluated if we have enough department coverage for that period.
We would also like to bring to your attention a change in the furlough scheme. From 1st July, we are now able to introduce part time working. This is a welcomed flexibility that we are hoping will allow us to return more colleagues to work. Although it will probably affect only office staff in the early stages, it is possibly we may also introduce this with the factory teams.
We realise that this is a difficult time but hope that things are slowly beginning to return to normal.
As soon as we want you to return to work, your line manager or team leader will be in touch.
We hope everyone has a good weekend.
22/05/20 Holidays Update
We are conscious that quite a few people have got queries regarding holidays for 2020. We have therefore put together a policy to cover the remainder of 2020, and this is shown below. Please note that we are doing our best to manage the holidays in a way that allows all our employees to manage and plan their lives through this difficult period. We hope that this communication will give everyone the clarity that they need at this time. Please note that if anybody has got any specific concerns or issues with the policy, we will work with you on an individual basis to address your concerns. We are also planning to set up a zoom call to answer any queries for w/c 1st June and we will provide you with further information on this in due course.
1 Jan 2020 – 9 Aug 2020
- Your accrued entitlement of holidays (excluding bank holidays) between 1 Jan and 8 Aug is approx. 15.5 days.
- In addition to the 4 days (+ bank holidays) that everyone has taken before the end of May, all employees will be required to take an additional 10 days holidays before the 9 August.
- The previous plan for working during summer shutdown is no longer valid.
- If there are specific days you would like to book as holidays during this period (including during the official shutdown dates), please notify HR by 12th June 2020.
- If you wish to cancel any holidays already booked in this period, please notify HR by 12th June 2020.
- If there are too many requests for holidays on a particular date (including official shutdown), we will prioritise firstly where a holiday has been booked and secondly on coinciding with other family members.
10 Aug 2020 – 31 Dec 2020
- Entitlement for this period = 25 days (annual allowance) – 14 days (used 1 Jan – 9 Aug) = 11.
- Fixed Holidays for period = Sept shutdown (5 days) + Christmas (4 Days) = 9 Days.
- Floating Days = 2 days.
- If you have taken more than 14 days in the previous period, your floating days will be reduced accordingly.
- The previous plan for working September shutdown is no longer valid and a new plan will be made in due course.
- We will permit any pre booked holidays to be cancelled in this period, but please notify HR by 12th June 2020.
- Will also accept new holiday requests for this period.
- If anybody wishes to book holidays in the period but do not have the necessary floating days, please speak to HR.
- For any holiday arrangements that fall outside the above policy, agreement will be needed both from your line manager and HR.
- Please note we will continue to review the policy, listen to feedback and update as appropriate.
22/05/20 Furlough Pay Update
You will recall that we previously communicated to you that during March and April the company would ensure that everybody received 100% of their pay. In May, the payment was 90% and for June this will be 80%. Please remember that adjustments are carried out one month in arrears so the 20% reduction for June will not be made until your payment on 15th July.
An issue was brought to our attention that because some of our team worked during the month of May in the factory, they have been disadvantaged as they have missed out on the 90% payment that those furloughed in May received and they will only get the 80% payment when they return to furlough in June. We have now reviewed this and are pleased to confirm that for any weeks that anybody has worked in May, they will receive a corresponding top up during June to 90%. So for example, if you worked 3 weeks in May, for 3 weeks in June we will ensure you get a minimum of 90% rather than 80%.
15 May 2020 – Update
We would like to update you all on where we are currently and the plan as we see it going forward. As always, this is an assessment of things as they stand today and may be subject to change in the future.
In terms of government guidance on returning to work, please remember that in Wales the guidance is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government and may differ from the guidance given by the Prime Minister of the UK.
Currently we have 12 people working in the factory and a few people working from home who are supporting operations and doing the essential administration and planning work.
We are hopeful that in June we might see more customers start to re-open and we may therefore need another shift but we will confirm this in due course.
In terms of production staff, as previously suggested we think it is only fair to rotate people who are required to work and as such we will be contacting people next week with a view to starting work on the 25th of May. The operators who have been at work over the last few weeks will then be re- furloughed for at least 3 weeks.
Although we will have a small shift working during May shutdown week, the previous guidance issued where all employees will be expected to take their 6 holidays during May still stands.
We will shortly be reviewing the holiday situation for after May and will feedback in the near future. At this stage we can confirm that the previous plan for working during company summer shutdown will be subject to a complete review and is therefore subject to change.
At the factory we are constantly reviewing and implementing measures to ensure that we keep everyone safe but if you have any worries about returning to work, please do not hesitate to contact Nia or Richard.
If there is an interest, we are also happy to set up a zoom call for any employees who would like to meet virtually with us for a regular update. Please contact Nia if you think this would be useful.
For those employees who are still on furlough, training is allowed and we would encourage you to take advantage of any free training courses that may be on offer, please see below a link to some courses that are available.
We hope that everyone is keeping safe and well.
01 May 2020 – Update
This week the Aberbeeg factory opened on Wednesday with a small team of approximately 12 people working 7am – 3pm. There are a small number of additional employees on standby to return if demand increases.
Going forward there is a possibility at least in the short term we may need to move employees from the night shift to days/afternoons, and we are therefore giving all our night shift employee’s notice now of the possibility of such a shift change. Thank you to all employees who have been flexible so far and we appreciate your co-operation at this time. If there are any concerns or queries with this please get in touch with Richard or Nia .
Some staff may be required to carry out training over the coming weeks, and your line manager will inform you of this but it will not affect your furlough status.
We hope you all have a good weekend, and please continue to follow the government guidance .
27 April – Easter Competition Winners
Thank you to all those who entered the Easter competition.
The winners are :-
Harlow Carey – 2- 4 years
Bronwen Clatworthy – 16 +
Unfortunately we cannot display the winning entries on this site but they will appear in the next addition of our newsletter.
Well done girls, your prizes will be posted to you this week!
24 April – Re-opening of Aberbeeg Factory
We can now confirm that one of our UK customers have placed orders for Monday the 4th of May .
As anticipated the initial order is very small so we will only need a limited number of factory operatives back at work . We will be in touch with employees on an individual basis to discuss their return. Initially this will be approximately 11 people on the 29th of April and a further 5 on standby from the 4th should the need arise for them to work . Both of these dates are provisional at this moment in time and will be confirmed early next week.
We have made the selection on who should return on the following basis:-
- Any employees who for health or other reasons are vulnerable have not been selected to return to work at this point in time.
- People on the same shift have been selected as we do not want to potentially cross contaminate shifts.
- The shift selected was the best fit in terms of current numbers required in each department.
Over the coming weeks, if the furloughing continues for a prolonged period we will consider how to rotate employees .
As with all updates the situation is fluid and may be subject to changes but this is the plan as it stands today.
If anyone has any queries , please feel free to get in touch with Nia or Richard;
firstname.lastname@example.org or 07724105012
email@example.com or 07896896854
24 April – APRIL AND MAY PRE-BOOKED HOLIDAYS
If you have pre booked a holiday in April or May and would now like to cancel this holiday the company will grant this request. Individuals will need to email Nia.firstname.lastname@example.org or if you do not have an email address call 07724105012 with your request to cancel the holiday.
However, please note this does not affect the previous communication and all employees will still be expected to take bank holidays and the 4 days company holidays in May.
23 April GENERAL AND PAYROLL UPDATE
Return to Work
Although there is still a lot of uncertainty, some of our UK customers are indicating that they may recommence some reduced level production in May.
The implication of this for our Aberbeeg factory is that we may need a small number of our employees to return to work anytime from Thursday 30th April. We will provide you with further information on this as soon as it is available.
In terms of UK office staff, line managers will continue to assess on a case by case basis if there is a need for you to return to work and will get in touch with you if the requirement arises.
As you know, we previously agreed to enhance your April pay to 100% and this will be shown in your May payment.
For the month of May, we will enhance your pay to 90% and this will be shown in your June payment.
For everyone in the pension scheme, the company will enhance the 3% government payment to 5%.
In terms of holidays, in addition to bank holidays all employees will be expected to take 4 holidays before the end of May, and for most these holidays will be taken during the Whitsun break, and the company will enhance the holiday payment to 100%.
In light of the current uncertainty, the annual pay review will be delayed for at least 3 months.
As a company we remain committed to supporting all our employees through this difficult time.
We trust that you and your families continue to keep safe.
Finally, our thoughts at this difficult time are with those amongst us who have lost loved ones.
17 April 2020 – GENERAL UPDATE
We are still unsure of when our customers will return to work. We are reasonably certain that all UK customers will stay shut for the remainder of April. Some customers are indicating that may gradually start to return to work in May and we will update you when we have further information.
For factory staff, your furlough will continue to the end of May if necessary unless we have a requirement to open the factory. However, when we re-open the factory, we anticipate that we will be initially running at a reduced level and will therefore not require everyone’s return initially. We will provide more information on this at a later date.
For office staff, your furlough will also continue to the end of May if necessary unless we have a business need to bring you back to work, and your line manager will then call you.
We hope that you and your families are all keeping safe and well at this difficult time.
Have a good weekend.
14 April 2020 – PAY DAY TOMORROW
A bit of good news – It’s nearly payday!
Due to the COVID-19 situation, you will see a few extra lines on your payslip, so accounts have kindly provided the following explanation to help avoid confusion;
The payroll process will remain unchanged. All basic pay will be paid in full in the payroll month and adjustments will take place one month in arrears.
This will mean that in April you will see furlough adjustments for the previous month of March only. April Furlough adjustments will take place in May’s payroll.
|Payroll Date||April 20||May 20||June 20|
|Furlough Repayment @ 80%||March||April||May|
|Top up to 100%||March||April|
9 APRIL 2020 – HAPPY EASTER
Happy Easter to you all and we hope that you enjoy the Bank holiday weekend!
It is typical that the weather is great and no one is allowed to go anywhere! It is definitely an Easter that we will remember for a long time!
We were due to publish our quarterly newsletter but unfortunately this has been put on hold for a while, which is very sad as we had only just got it started. However you can all use your furlough time wisely and gather some ideas for the next addition.
We may also require you to complete some training whilst you are on furlough, and we will look to update you on this after Easter.
As a company we would like to thank you all for your co-operation and flexibility during this difficult time.
As a bit of fun, we thought it would be nice to have a Easter competition. The prize will be £5 for the winner of each category.
Please send your/ your kids submissions to Nia.kerr@bweng with the name and age category by Wednesday the 15th of April.
There will be five categories
Ages 2- 4, Best Easter colouring
Ages 4-7, Best Easter chick ( Free hand line drawing , colour if you want)
Ages 7-10 Best Easter Bunny (Free hand line drawing, colour if you want)
Ages 10-12 – Best Easter card.
Ages 12 – 100 – Best Easter photo just in case (Gran or Gramps want to get involved )
We look forward to all your entries.
Happy Easter 2020!
6 APRIL 2020 – GENERAL UPDATE
We hope you and your families are continuing to keep well.
As at today, the situation remains the same as communicated last week.
With the exception of receiving containers, both our Aberbeeg and Blaina sites remain closed.
Our Dilsen site is still open but only with a very small team.
Please continue to keep looking at this site for further updates.
Keep safe everyone.
2 APRIL 2020 – GENERAL UPDATE
Hope you and all your families are keeping well.
All employees should have now received your furlough letters by email and you should have returned these to HR.
We appreciate that it is a difficult time but we would encourage you all to try and make the best out of the situation you find yourself in. Please see a link which gives some great tips to everyone stuck at home at this time.
As Blackwood employees we want to encourage everyone to keep to a healthy routine, make sure you get daily exercise, healthy food and do something to help or cheer someone up every day.
Please listen to the government advice and do your bit to help the NHS and Save lives.
31 MARCH 2020 – GENERAL UPDATE
We hope that you and your families are all doing ok.
Although we have no definite news on how long our customers will remain closed, we estimate that it will be at least for a number of weeks, certainly until Easter, and we will continue to keep you updated.
For those who haven’t already received an email from HR regarding furloughing, you should do so today and please respond to these immediately.
If anyone has any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
26 MARCH 2020 – GENERAL UPDATE
JCB have announced that they will remain closed to at least the end of April. No further updates from other customers.
Please look out for email from HR regarding Furloughing early next week. Furloughing is the process that the government has set out to assist with the cost of employment during this crisis. Please note that although this is only 80%, the company has committed to paying 100% pay during April. You need to reply to this email by the date stated to allow us to complete the furlough process.
Please keep following government guidelines.
Please also contact us if you’ve got any queries at all.
25 MARCH 2020 ABERBEEG SITE CLOSURE
As you know, yesterday (Tuesday 24th March) we took the decision to close the Aberbeeg factory and office as a result of the Covid-19 situation.
Although we had previously implemented measures such as reducing the risk of spreading the virus on site and protecting the most vulnerable employees and their family members by isolating, closing the Aberbeeg site was the next step to protect our employees, their families and society generally.
Along with the company, each of us individually has an important part to play in this effort and I would urge everyone to take all the steps that the Government are currently advising.
As a business, the welfare of our employees and your family is our top priority. We don’t know how long the closure will last but we are committed to ensuring that all of our employees will receive their normal pay for April.
We are also working to ensure that we have got good communication with all of our workforce, and please keep checking this webpage where we will look to provide you with further updates.
I would also encourage all our employees to talk to us if they have got any concerns, and we will shortly provide some contact numbers for you.
We wish you and your families all the very best at this difficult time and we look forward to returning to normality as soon as we possibly can.
Director/ General Manager.