Retail trade union Usdaw is urging the Government to be cautious and not rush into lifting all Covid rules, after the Prime Minister indicated their intention to announce, on 21 February, the end of self-isolating. The union is backing Labour’s 10 point plan for living with Covid, which was published last month.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Lifting the self-isolation rules will inevitably lead to more Covid infected people circulating in public and entering shops. Coupled with last month’s unnecessary end to mandatory face coverings in stores, that leaves shopworkers at greater risk of catching the virus and taking it home to their families.

“Even without the legal requirement to isolate, more people catching Covid will mean more sickness absence, reduced staffing levels and disruption in workplaces. Being ill has a huge financial impact on low paid workers, as too many are forced to live on Statutory Sick Pay of just £96.35 per week. Thanks to trade unions, Statutory Sick Pay has been paid from day one during the pandemic. This must continue and the level of sick pay should be increased.

“We are concerned that the Prime Minster is more interested in appeasing his backbenchers, as he desperately tries to cling on to his job. Part of the problem is the Government doesn’t have a plan and appear to be making decisions for political rather than clinical reasons, which is why Usdaw is backing Labour’s ten point plan for living with Covid.

“The Government must consider the impact of their decisions on key workers who have kept the country going through the pandemic. Retail staff deserve to be valued, respected and protected.”

Labour’s 10 point plan for living with Covid…

  1. Retain volunteer responders to assist with vaccination (next winter)
  2. Prioritise testing and make it fit for the future.
  3. Fix sick pay.
  4. Play our part in vaccinating the world.
  5. Prioritise children’s learning.
  6. Launch exercises to learn lessons.
  7. Publish a “road map” for future decision-making.
  8. Transform the “front door” of the NHS and use Covid’s legacy to build resilience and bring waiting lists down.
  9. Transform social care.
  10. Turbo-charge research and innovation.
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