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'Support retail and delivery workers' - Usdaw statement on Coronavirus

Date: 16 March 2020 Usdaw members, like everyone else, are facing serious worries about the possible impact of the Coronavirus on them and their families. They are experiencing this worry at the same time as dealing with extremely high demand, coming into contact with hundreds of people every day, and working flat out so that customers can buy the things that they need.
Retail workers will play an essential role in getting the country through this crisis and they need your support. Here are some things that everyone can do to help:
  • We understand that it can be frustrating when shops are very busy, or you can’t get the items you want, but it is never acceptable to take this out on shopworkers or delivery drivers. It isn’t their fault, and they are doing the very best they can. Please treat our members with the courtesy and respect that they deserve. 
  • Please only buy what you need. Where supermarkets are placing restrictions on items, this is to ensure that everyone can get the essentials that they need. There is enough for everyone, if we all show some consideration for others. 
  • Please take precautions to limit the risk of spreading infection to shopworkers and others. Wash your hands before you go shopping, maintain physical distance and try to pay using your contactless card if possible, rather than cash. If you are able to go shopping alone rather than bringing your family with you, or to shop on behalf of friends and neighbours, this would be a good idea too.
  • If you are using supermarket deliveries, make sure that you inform the company beforehand if you are self-isolating. Please be understanding of the measures that delivery drivers are taking to protect themselves and you, such as doorstep only deliveries.
We are working with employers to ensure that our members have the support they need to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible.  Some of the measures we are calling for include paid time off for sickness and self-isolation, ensuring that staff are not penalised under any absence policies for time off, access to handwashing facilities, hand sanitiser wherever available, and clean workplaces. We are also expecting employers to take appropriate security measures to keep workers safe. Any member with concerns should contact their Union rep for advice.

We would like to thank all of those customers who have been understanding, patient and supportive towards our members during what has been a stressful and difficult time.

We would also like to express our solidarity with the millions of health and social care workers, who are working hard and putting themselves on the front line every day to help us all.

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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