WAREHOUSE workers at a camera retailer are "fuming" as they continue to work through the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees of Brighton second-hand firm MPB continue to work at the company's Hollingbury warehouse despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plea to close all "non-essential" business premises.

One employee called for the Government to crack down on “nonessential” companies continuing to trade.


“Our whole work force is fuming that we’re still being made to work in this situation,” the worker said.

“Almost all of us have to get 45-minute bus journeys there and back every day to work in a warehouse touching camera equipment all day that’s been sent in by customers.

“Buying and selling cameras is not essential work and needs to be stopped.

“It’s a joke.”

Another worker worried staff were at risk of spreading the virus in the warehouse.

“There are about 50 people working there sharing two toilets,” the employee claimed.

But MPB founder Matt Barker said workers had always been provided with protective gloves and cleaning equipment.

“More than 75 per cent of our Brighton workforce is now working remotely,” he said.

“We have implemented additional strict measures, including a rigorous cleaning schedule and social distancing well above the two metres recommended by the UK Government.

“A significant part of our business involves paying out cash to photographers and videographers for their kit.

“It’s important that we continue to process our customers’ transactions to ensure these photographers and videographers have the cash they need at this time.”

Yesterday Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove clarified non-essential shopping deliveries such as MPB’s could continue after widespread confusion over which businesses were "essential".

But Hove MP Peter Kyle said the Government had struggled with communication “from the beginning”.

“Our country has as its unofficial motto “Keep calm and carry on” while the Government is now telling us to keep calm but don’t carry on,” the Labour MP said.

“For many of us it’s so much a part of our psyche as a country that we will understandably find ways around unusual situations.

“But on the whole I have seen a marked difference in the past 24 hours.”

Mr Kyle urged confused businesses to err on the side of caution.

“It’s better to have a wider lockdown to start with and then loosen some of the conditions than the other way around because we’re talking about people’s lives here,” he said.

Meanwhile Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas urged the Government to “up its game” on communicating who is a key worker.

“There has been too much uncertainty over the Government’s measures taken in response to coronavirus,” she said.

“It’s clearly unacceptable for some businesses to put pressure on staff to work when they shouldn’t be.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal.  Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund