Facemasks should be mandatory again as retail workers at risk, says union

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A leading shop workers’ trade union is calling on the government to make important in-store safety measures mandatory to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, in light of rising Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 370,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.

“Since the Government ended mandatory safety measures within shops, the wearing of face coverings, social distancing and hand sanitising have been in decline. Protection for retail workers through customers following Covid safety rules should be backed up by the law and not left to individual choice, if we are going to avoid further lockdown measures,” Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary- said.

“Without clear direction from the Government, we continue to ask employers to think about their duty of care to staff and promote safety measures to the shopping public. We also ask customers to show their support and respect for shopworkers by wearing face coverings, observe hand hygiene and maintain social distancing.

“Wearing a face covering is an important measure to help protect workers who have no option but to interact with the public. Retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families. They have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country fed and deserve to be valued, respected and protected.”