Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is urging retailers to maintain social distancing in shops at two metres, as agreed in joint safety guidance, after the Prime Minister announces a ‘one metre plus’ rule for situations where two metre distancing cannot be observed. He today confirmed to the House of Commons that “where it is possible to keep two metres apart, people should”.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Usdaw worked with the British Retail Consortium on joint safety guidance for shops based on the two-metre rule and in our experience retailers have taken that seriously and are complying.
“It has taken a lot of hard work and effort to make the changes to encourage customers to follow social distancing of two metres in shops that stayed open throughout the lockdown. Non-essential retailers have also redesigned their stores on the basis of two-metre social distancing for their reopening. So we urge retailers to maintain their existing safety measures. Retail is working well under the two-metre rule, it is not necessary to reduce to one metre, which could compromise the safety of staff and customers and create confusion.
“Safety in stores also needs customer co-operation and I am shocked that abuse of shopworkers has doubled during the Coronavirus emergency. It is a disgrace that a minority behave this way, at a time when we should be pulling together to get through this appalling pandemic and we urge customers to observe social distancing. At no time should abuse be a part of the job. Shopworkers deserve respect.”
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.