The most recent guidance from the Government states that, ‘Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal.’ At the same time the Government advice was that ‘non-essential businesses and premises must now shut.’
Online retail relies on people working in warehouses, distribution centres and delivering to residential addresses. Social distancing is very difficult in all these situations and yet many non-food purchases will not be essential. The Government needs to act to ensure that workers are protected and the risks are minimised by restricting non-essential online retail.
Jayne Allport – Usdaw Area Organiser says:
“I was contacted today by a member at the Mainline Menswear online fulfilment warehouse in Scarborough. I was told that the company has brought forward a sale that was scheduled for July in order to generate more sales, but have not put any measures in place to minimise the risk to its 50-60 warehouse staff. No hand sanitizer, only washing up liquid in the washroom, no social distancing and no limit to staff using the small rest area.
“The company is not only endangering their employees, they are adding to the risk of spread of Coronavirus in the wider Scarborough community. We are urging management to take their responsibilities seriously.”
Usdaw is also making clear calls on employers to improve health and safety for people working in warehouse and distribution operations:
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
- Clear provisions for workers to keep at least 2 metres apart at all times, in line with Government guidance. This means that, for non-essential business, two-person delivery operations must cease with immediate effect.
- Full sick pay for those in vulnerable groups and for individuals who live with people in vulnerable groups.
- Additional sinks, provision of hand sanitiser for individuals and provision of cleaning equipment for all work stations.
- Increased hours for cleaning staff.
- Early shift finishes and guarantee of overtime payments where time spent leaving the site has increased due to queues adhering to social distancing.
- Staggered break times along with extra break rooms with adequate rest facilities and additional smoking areas to ensure social distancing.
- Flexibility and understanding around childcare issues in light of school closures.
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.
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