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Usdaw calls for employers to follow the Next example to make their warehouses safer

Date: 15 April 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw has worked with clothes retailer Next to make their online fulfilment centres safe for staff during the Coronavirus emergency. The union now calls on other employers to follow suit.
Next closed their warehouses two weeks ago and used the time to work with Usdaw reps and officials to redesign operations so that social distancing can be observed. Staff are being trained in new working practices and demand is being limited to ensure that orders can be fulfilled safely.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “This shows what can be achieved when a trade union and employer work together. The safety of our members is always paramount and we do not accept that standards should slip through the Coronavirus emergency. We congratulate Next for doing the right thing, thank them for constructively working with our reps and officials and call on other employers to engage with us.

“When the Government stated that ‘online retail is still open and encouraged’, they left the door open for unsafe conditions in non-essential workplaces. Online retail relies on people working in warehouses, distribution centres and delivering to residential addresses. The Government needs to act urgently to ensure that workers are protected and the risks are minimised. Next, working with Usdaw, has shown it can be done. If employers refuse to make the necessary changes and continue to operate non-essential workplaces in a way that puts the staff, their families and communities at risk, they should be closed.”

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers