Usdaw backs the Close the Door Campaign

Date: 24 March 2011

The shopworkers Union Usdaw is marking 'Climate Week' by adding its support to the Close the Door Campaign which is asking retailers to conserve energy and improve conditions for shopworkers and customers by keeping their doors closed.

Independent research from Cambridge University has found that many high street shops waste up to 50% of their energy through open door policies and cause severe discomfort for shop staff who are often forced to work in cold draughty conditions as a result.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:

"Usdaw is pleased to support the work of the Close the Door Campaign. As well as wasting money and energy, open shop doors in winter can cause great discomfort to staff who may spend all day in cold or fluctuating temperatures. Too many shops, including some of the big high street chain stores, still leave their doors open even in sub zero temperatures, some also insisting that their staff stand near the open door to welcome customers."

"The practice is unacceptable, unnecessary and damaging to both staff and the environment and we urge retailers to stop it. Closing the door when it's cold outside makes both staff and customers more comfortable and is something all shops should be doing."

Jeannie Dawkins, Director of the Close the Door Campaign said:

"We had complaints last winter from staff who were made ill through working in cold and draughty conditions when the shop door was kept open. Recent research has shown just how bad this problem is. Having an open door policy while heating or cooling the shop space means that staff are working in fluctuating levels of heat and cold, frequently far outside CIBSE guidelines for healthy working. Air blowers over the door do not solve the problem. It is clearly not acceptable to treat staff in this way, quite aside from the significant energy waste involved, and we are so pleased that Usdaw has taken this up."

Notes for Editors:

1. Close the Door is campaigning to get shops to close their doors when using heating or cooling to save energy, money and improve conditions for staff and customers. Recently commissioned independent research from Cambridge University found that closing a shop door while heating was on:

  • Reduces energy usage by up to 50%.
  • Enhances comfort of staff and customers, maintaining temperature at Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) recommended levels all day, even when outside temperature plummets.
  • Cuts a shop's annual CO2 emissions by up to 10 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to three return London Hong Kong flights.
  • Assists with the mandatory national 34% target for a reduction in carbon emissions.
  • Maintains energy use at a standard low level.
  • Enables heating to be shut off long before the end of the day without affecting internal temperatures.
  • Stops the need for so-called "air curtains" over the door - among the greatest wasters of energy: a single one consumes 24 kWh per day. This is equivalent to emitting 91 kg CO2 per week, or more emissions than a return Glasgow London coach trip
  • More information on the campaign can be found at http://www.closethedoor.org.uk/

2. Climate Week runs 21 - 27 March. For more information visit: http://www.climateweek.com/

3. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest trade union, with over 395,000 members. Usdaw is the country's fastest growing trade union; membership has increased by more than 15% in the last four years and by over a quarter in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.