Retail trade union Usdaw has renewed the call for key workers to be prioritised for vaccination, testing and risk assessment, after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today released new statistics on Covid death rates by occupation that show many key workers are at a higher risk.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says: 
“The new ONS statistics demonstrate that many key workers, who are providing essential services during the pandemic, have an elevated Covid-19 related death rate. It is clear that close proximity to the public and other workers, as well as an indoor working environment are factors.

“This is worrying for our members in the essential food supply industry, including those in processing plants, distribution, essential retail and grocery delivery. So we are working with employers to revisit risk assessments and ensure that all safety precautions are adhered to. We also call on the public to follow the necessary safety measures in stores, like wearing a face covering, observing social distancing, shopping alone where possible and respecting shopworkers.

“The Government must prioritise vulnerable occupations in the second phase of the vaccine rollout, reflecting the risks they face. They have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials and these key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”

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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