Employees at a city food factory claim they have been banned from drinking water while they are at work.
The workers at Cranswick Food say a new company rule has forbidden them from using the water dispenser in the company canteen at any time other than in their official break.
Because hygiene rules mean they cannot take their own bottles of water on to the factory floor, the workers claim they must now go up to six hours without a drink.
“We mostly work 12 hour shifts with two breaks of about half an hour each,” said a spokesman for the workers.
“The company packages meat for retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury.
“It’s quite heavy manual work and it can make you thirsty,” he added.
Previously workers have been allowed to leave the factory floor and go to the water machine in the canteen to get a drink whenever they wanted.
“The bosses have suddenly introduced a new rule saying employees can no longer do this and have to wait for break times to get water... I’m positive this is against health and safety regulations,” said the spokesman.
“Everybody is furious. They are being denied a basic human right.”
Cranswick foods, based in Snelshall, employs more than 600 people.
“That’s a lot of people going thirsty,” claimed the workers’ spokesman.
The Citizen contacted Cranswick Foods factory in MK to ask for a comments about the alleged water ban.
Workers claimed they have been told a letter confirming the alleged ban would be sent out to them from Cranswick this week.
Factory manager Craig Baxter at first refused to comment to the Citizen, saying: “Unfortunately we are not able to give you a statement.”
When pressed he said: “This is not about not giving them water. It is about people giving us information when they leave the shop floor.”
He added: “We are absolutely not restricting them with water.”
Mr Baxter said he would arrange for a company director to call the Citizen to give a statement.
Despite our follow-up call to head office, Cranswick bosses have still so far failed to respond.