Woolwich: Morrisons suspends worker over poppy

A member of the public fixes a poppy to tributes left for murdered soldier Lee Rigby. Picture: Getty
A member of the public fixes a poppy to tributes left for murdered soldier Lee Rigby. Picture: Getty
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A supermarket worker has been suspended for wearing a Help for Heroes bracelet and a poppy in tribute to Drummer Lee Rigby.

• Supermarket suspends employee over poppy and bracelet tribute to murdered solider Lee Rigby

• Morrisons claim hygiene regulations prohibit some staff from wearing extra items

Adam Austin has spoken of his shock after bosses at the Morrisons store in Portsmouth, Hampshire, told him he faced disciplinary action when he refused to remove the items.

The 28-year-old has now been suspended until he attends a meeting with management on Friday.

Mr Austin told the Portsmouth News: “I was disappointed and partly furious.

“I have got friends in the army and friends who have been in the army. What with the issue with Lee Rigby, I wore them out of respect.”

A Morrisons spokesman explained that staff were generally prohibited from wearing extra items to prevent objects falling into food products

He said: “It’s all about food hygiene. The rules are the same in a restaurant kitchen as they are in a supermarket food preparation area.

“We have a dress code and the dress code is primarily around the health and safety of the staff member and the members of the public.”

But he added the company had reviewed its guidelines to allow staff in non-food preparation areas to wear a registered charity wristband.

But how this applies to Mr Austin is unclear at present, as he is employed in a fresh food preparation area as well as at the checkouts.

The spokesman added: “We understand that it’s important to many people to show support for our armed forces. Morrisons is a long time supporter of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and we welcome Help for Heroes fundraisers into stores.

“As a company we encourage store colleagues to show their support for the Royal British Legion by wearing poppies in October and November.

“We currently ask that colleagues adhere to a company dress code which precludes bracelets and pins. However, we have reviewed these guidelines and colleagues working in non-fresh food preparation areas will now be permitted to wear a registered charity wristband.”

Responding to the story, former Conservative MP Louise Mensch wrote on Twitter: “Hey, @Morrisons, you are a disgrace suspending a staffer for wearing a poppy.”

She added: “Right. Boycott £Morrisons. Actually suspending a staff member for showing respect for our soldiers?”


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