Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“We are very disappointed that the Government has not consulted broadly with unions and employers on this guidance. So what they have now published, just a few days before it comes into force, provides no assurances for staff or employers. It is a real mess. Protection for retail workers through wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing in busy public areas like shops should be backed up by the law.
“In the absence of clarity and leadership from the Government, we are asking employers to think about their duty of care to staff and promote existing safety measures to the shopping public. We also ask customers to show their support for shopworkers by continuing to wear face coverings, observe hand hygiene and maintain social distancing.
“Retail staff already face unacceptable levels of abuse and making Covid safety measures guidance only, instead of having the force of law behind them, will create confusion and put more shopworkers at risk.
“Wearing a face covering is an important measure to help protect workers who have no option but to interact with the public. Many retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families. They have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country fed and deserve to be valued, respected and protected.”
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