Retail trade union Usdaw has called on the shopping public to respect retail workers and follow the necessary in-store safety measures.
General secretary Paddy Lillis said: “The increase in covid-19 cases is alarming and we urge the government to ensure key workers are protected. We are deeply worried about safety measures not being followed and the impact that has on the safety of staff.
“Usdaw members in food retail are key workers delivering an essential service and have worked extremely hard in stressful environments to ensure that the nation remains fed. Despite this, during the height of the first wave of the outbreak, violence and abuse toward shop staff doubled. It is clear that such behaviour is unacceptable; abuse is not part of the job.
“We note that face coverings are going to become mandatory for shop workers in England, as they currently are in Scotland for staff who are not behind screens. We are urging employers to ensure staff get regular breaks where they can take the face covering off and change it for a fresh one. We also encourage managers to be sympathetic to workers who are exempt from wearing masks. Any Usdaw member with concerns should contact their rep for advice.
“To help keep the number of infections as low as possible, we are calling on all shoppers to follow key Government advice on washing hands, covering your face and making space. We are also urging everyone to respect shop workers.”
Paddy Lillis launched a parliamentary petition that seeks to protect retail staff from violence, threats and abuse, and Usdaw continues to campaign for 100,000 signatures that should trigger a parliamentary debate. The petition now has over 62,000 signatures and can be signed at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/328621