A BLACKBURN woman has claimed she had to open her Ramadan fast with a can of Pepsi after being "refused food" whilst working at a major Manchester venue.

The woman said she was working as a glass collector at the Victoria Warehouse at an event during the last week of April.

Ramadan began on April 2 and ended on May 2, during which Muslims of an adult age are obliged to refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise till sunset.

The venue have refuted these claims and said the worker was employed by an outside contracter and was given 30 minutes to open her fast at the alloted time. They also said food is 'not supplied to employees or suppliers on shift'.

The woman claims she was told the food at the event was "only for food staff" and did not wish to be named as it may affect her future employment.

She said: “At 8.30pm I needed to open my fast.

“I had been working a long time and fasting all day. I did ask the chef if I could have some vegetarian food, but was told 'no'.

“I asked if I could then have some of the food. I was also told this was for ‘food staff’ only.

“It was not as if there was not enough food to go around. There certainly was.

“I was in tears by this stage due to the stress but I had to then just get on with my job. When my manager came to speak to me I was shaking.”

The woman, who said she didn’t want to lose her job, feels she may have got on the ‘wrong end’ with some other staff, as she joked only Asians could cook a ‘proper curry’, but thinks some staff took it to heart.

She added that she feels this was because of her Muslim background and organisations need to have more policies in place to cater for different faiths.

Lancashire Telegraph: After not eating or drinking all day she was only allowed a can of Pepsi, she said. Photo: PixabayAfter not eating or drinking all day she was only allowed a can of Pepsi, she said. Photo: Pixabay

“I think they may have taken my opinions a bit personal as people just changed towards me. I was not being serious," she added.

“When it came to fast-breaking time I was not asking a long break, just a little while so I could open my fast.

“The worst thing was all the leftover food [from the event] was being thrown in the bin.

"It is such a waste of food and looked so bad in front of someone who had been fasting all day.”

She said she was forced to open her fast with a can of Pepsi and then finally ate two hours later.

She said: “I didn’t eat until I had got home later in the evening.

"It was a horrible experience. But I can’t say anything as I want to keep my job and feel if I spoke out too much I may lose work.”

Companies have no legal requirement to allow staff members to stop working temporarily to break their Ramadan fast.

Victoria Warehouse said the worker was employed by a third party company.

A statement said: "On investigating the comments made by XXXX who is employed by a third party supplier, we do not agree with the claims made.

"For clarity food is not provided as a standard to employees or suppliers on shift, however all individuals receive breaks as entitled giving ample time to purchase or eat their own food.

"We can confirm XXXX requested and took a thirty minute break commencing just after 20:30 on request due to breaking fast'.