Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed the Government focussing on food retail and the crucial role supermarkets and their supply chains are playing in supporting the nation through the Coronavirus emergency.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Usdaw members are at the forefront of providing essential services in the food supply chain and we welcome the recognition of this from the Government. We also welcome that companies like Tesco and Asda are providing bonuses and additional pay to staff who are working long hours in stressful conditions, under threat of abuse from customers and in fear of contracting COVID-19.

“We are pleased to hear the Government echo Usdaw’s repeated calls for the public to respect staff, stay calm and under no circumstances abuse shopworkers. There is no need to panic, there is £1 billion of extra food in people’s cupboards, please only go out to buy food if you need it.

“NHS workers need to eat and shopworkers are also finding empty shelves at the beginning and end of shifts. So we welcome retailers setting aside times for essential workers to do their shopping.

“Many of our members tell us that they are struggling to keep pace with the demand and stores are really busy, so we also welcome the thousands of additional workers being recruited by retailers, which will help to relieve the pressure.”

Usdaw is urging customers to please help retail workers by:
• treating shopworkers with courtesy & respect
• washing your hands first
• only buying what you need
• maintaining physical distance
• paying with contactless if you can
• shopping alone if possible.

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.

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