Retail trade union Usdaw is calling on customers to follow the rules and respect shopworkers, as non-essential stores in England are set to reopen. The union is also urging the Government to ensure shopworkers and delivery drivers are high on the priority list for vaccines and routine testing.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“The reopening of non-essential stores ahead of Christmas offers a lifeline for many retailers, who would have struggled if they could not trade in December, traditionally the busiest month of the year. That is good news in terms of helping to safeguard jobs, but the virus is still out there, so we expect employers to maintain necessary safety measures and call on customers to follow the rules and respect staff.
“Regrettably throughout this appalling pandemic instances of abuse towards shopworkers doubled and we know from previous years that the pre-Christmas shopping period can be worse; when shops are busier, customers can be stressed and things can boil over. Abuse is not a part of the job of shopworkers.
“Retail staff are working with the public every day and are not only at risk of abuse but also contracting Covid-19, that needs to be taken into consideration when assessing their risk level and priority lists for vaccines and testing. It is clear that it is going to take some time to deliver vaccines and it is right that the most vulnerable will be prioritised in the first phase. However, we do call on the Government to ensure that retail workers and delivery drivers are given priority before the vaccine is rolled out to the general population.”
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.