31 March 2020 by Joshua Doherty

Clearer communication needed on coronavirus

Ebgert Taylor’s chief executive,  Brendan Murphy, gives his view on how well prepared the waste sector is to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

OPINION: The risks of Coronavirus have been made very clear over recent days. However, the communication surrounding it leaves many questions unanswered, particularly for manufacturers such as Egbert Taylor.

Brendan Murphy, Ebgert Taylor’s chief executive

As capitalism is put into hibernation and the Conservative government commits to one of the largest socialist endeavours ever seen, it’s important to acknowledge the depth and breadth of initiatives recently launched to help the general public and businesses grapple with an unseen and, until very recently, unknown enemy.

However, a crisis on this scale, which undoubtedly has to deal with countless layers of complexity, people to appease and institutions to support, is always going to be exposed to some flaws. Interestingly, one of the main flaws, as I see it, relates to the grey area surrounding what constitutes essential business operations and what doesn’t.

We’re currently producing domestic and international orders for customers who need our products to containerise waste. Whether they’re local authorities responsible for keeping entire streets clean, or private sector firms relying on our bins to manage the waste of large sites or facilities, effective waste collection and management is essential in retaining a sense of order. Therefore, should Egbert Taylor, as a UK manufacturer of an essential product, remain open?

In keeping with recent moves by government, which is using a united approach to support the nation, I ask this not as the CEO of a business concerned about remaining open in order to steal a march on our competitors, but as someone who wants to do the right thing for our employees, our customers and society as a whole. I also ask the question because I genuinely do not know the answer.

Language such as ‘continue travelling to work if you have to’ doesn’t allay my questions and concerns, or those of my team and suppliers, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this predicament.

In summary, the government’s complex support packages should be applauded. However, it’s communication to businesses outside of the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors needs to be made much clearer over the coming days in order to provide clarity and peace of mind for those who, as it stands, do not know whether they’re doing more harm than good by turning up for work.

 

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