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Usdaw calls for retail workers providing an essential service to be supported after schools are set to close across the UK

Date: 18 March 2020 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has responded to the closure of schools from Friday 20 March with a call for support for retail staff who are doing essential work to help communities through the Coronavirus emergency.
Usdaw has today spoken to senior Welsh Government Ministers making the case for shop, retail supply workers and pharmaceutical industry workers to be supported in light of school closures. The union will be making similar representations to the Scottish First Minister, UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw members across the retail supply chain continue to work extremely hard in response to the outbreak and are heavily involved in the immediate response to Coronavirus – ensuring that people are fed is an essential service at this time of crisis.
 
“We are making the case that workers throughout the retail and pharmaceutical supply chain are essential to the immediate Coronavirus response. We are urging authorities to fully support retail, pharmaceutical and warehouse workers at this time.
 
“At the same time, we are contacting employers in light of the developing situation. Usdaw has made it clear that, given the scale and impact of this decision, it will not be sufficient to rely on standard company policies or standard time off for dependants regulations. We are calling for clear commitments from employers to do all they can to ensure that individuals do not suffer a financial detriment as a result of taking time off to look after children. Employers should look at providing as many options as possible for staff who find themselves in this situation.
 
“Usdaw will continue to press the Government for clear, timely and adequate support directed at working people during this crisis. The current provisions are still too weak and do not reflect the severity of the on-going situation.”
 
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