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Viraj Kakadia, 27, can’t have his fingers sewn back on because his bosses binned them when he chopped them off while cutting peppers. The bosses then cruelly made Mr Kakadia book a taxi to get to the hospital, rather than call an ambulance. He had been using a vegetable cutter to prepare sushi at Taiko Foods factory in Acton, west London, which supplies major supermarkets such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.
The incident happened when Mr Kakadia’s cutting machine stopped working.
When he attempted to restart it, his hand became trapped and he lost the tips of two of his fingers.
The beleaguered worker was reportedly then asked to fill out an accident form, before he was told to book a taxi to the hospital rather than call an ambulance.
One of his colleagues Swapnil Patel stepped in to help, booking the lift and going with him to A&E at Hammersmith Hospital.
Doctors asked where the wounded man’s ice box or finger tips were, so that they could attempt to re-attach them.
But when Mr Patel called the factory’s management, they responded that the area had already been cleared and the digits likely binned.
Mr Kakadia, who supports his wife and family back home in India, said: “I’m very disappointed and unhappy about the way the company dealt with this.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t call an ambulance and help me when I needed it.
“My manager asked me to fill out an accident form – which took around 20 minutes, and said I would have to book a taxi, that they were not going to call an ambulance.
“The doctor asked me where my fingers were and when my friend who was with me asked the management team, they said they had been thrown in the bin.”
Typically, factory workers are required to wear protective metal gloves when operating machines with blades, but Taiko Foods only had one pair for two people – forcing Mr Kakadia to wear a cotton glove.
The machine was also reportedly not equipped with a safety guard or a sensor.
Mr Kakadia arrived in the UK seven months ago from India, and returned to work on February 19 after taking time off to recover – which his union report he was told take as holiday, rather than sick leave.
GMB union also gave him funds to get by while they approached the company, after which the company agreed to pay the full sick pay and reimburse his annual leave.
Hiten Vaidya, GMB London Region Organiser added that most of the over 600 employees at the family are paid the National Living Wage, and around half of them are estimated to be from ethnic minority backgrounds with English as a second language.
Since the introduction of a points-based immigration system the UK has seen a large influx of Indian migrants to the country, as well as from other backgrounds.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants report: “Migrants subject to immigration control are less able to challenge exploitation, change employer, take time off for sickness, or even demand fair wages than colleagues who have British citizenship.”
Mr Kakadia has been working in a “less taxing” role since he lost the tips of his fingers, and continues to receive physiotherapy.
He said: “every employee has a right to go and work happily without worrying about their safety.
“But that’s not what happened to me.
“If they sent the fingertips with ice with me to the hospital, I’d still have them intact today.
“They didn’t call an ambulance, and they haven’t offered me any support.”
Taiko Foods have been contacted for comment.
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