Around eight workers at Bakkavor Desserts have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus [Photo:Courtesy]

A coronavirus outbreak has taken place at a dessert factory where a manager vowed to axe workers staying at home in the lockdown. Around eight workers at Bakkavor Desserts in Newark, Nottinghamshire, have reportedly tested positive for the disease.

In April, Sean Madden, head of operations at the company, was filmed telling employees they faced losing their jobs if they missed work during the pandemic. He said: "If we need to get rid of 200 people's jobs next month, I'm going to look at who turned up to work and I'm going to look at who didn't bother turning up to work.

"The people who didn't bother turning up to work, you know, they will be the first people that we have to get rid of, unfortunately.” The firm employs more than 1,600 people and the company will now be working with Public Health England moving forward, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

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The international company produces ready meals, soups, sauces and prepared fruit and vegetables as well as desserts and pizzas. It supplies products to stores such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

The company says a small number of employees have tested positive for Covid-19 but did not provide an exact number. Mail Online reports that around eight workers have been diagnosed with coronavirus. In a statement, a spokeswoman said: "A small number of colleagues have recently tested positive for Covid-19 at our Bakkavor Desserts site in Newark, which employs over 1,600 people.

"In the event of a positive confirmation, we have an immediate and clear plan to follow and we are working closely with PHE (Public Health England). "Due to the nature of our business, we already have high standards of hygiene, Good Manufacturing Practice and handwashing in place.

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"?In these unprecedented times, we have further enhanced our safety and hygiene measures ?in line with all government guidelines and daily temperature test our colleagues. We also have a robust return to work policy in place to ensure those returning to work are fit and well. We wish these colleagues a speedy recovery."