// Iceland confirms plans to hire 2000 temporary extra store staff to cover absences
// Over 1000 staff had been “pinged” the NHS test-and-trace app
Iceland has confirmed plans to hire 2000 spare staff to cover staff absences following the so-called “pingdemic”.
The retailer had been forced to reduce trading hours and close some stores as it experienced staff shortages caused by workers receiving notifications from the NHS test-and-trace app.
The frozen foods grocer said its recruitment drive will begin in a “few days” and that it will be displaying job adverts in stores, on social media and in petrol service stations.
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All the vacancies will be temporary roles to see the supermarket through current staff shortages which are affecting multiple supermarket chains nationwide.
Speaking to the BBC, Iceland managing director Richard Walker said over 1,000 staff had been “pinged”.
Walker has called on the government to adjust the app or self-isolation rules urgently, ahead of planned changes on August 16.
“Supermarkets need to focus on feeding the nation not writing to government departments,” he said.
He said approximately 96 per cent of those alerted by the NHS app who worked for Iceland did not test positive for Covid-19.
The recruitment drive from Iceland comes after M&S said it may also have to cut opening hours to cope with the absences.