‘Key worker’ status sought for convenience store workers

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A delivery is made to a SPAR supermarket in Belfast as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the government to provide the key worker status to convenience store colleagues.

The status will support store colleagues in light of school closures from Friday. The schools will be closed until further notice for all except children of key workers and vulnerable children.

“Convenience stores are a lifeline for local people, providing essential goods in communities across Britain to those who can’t go to larger stores, or can’t get products elsewhere. It is essential that the colleagues working in convenience stores are given the reassurance of the key worker status so that they can keep providing that service,” said James Lowman, ACS chief executive.

The government is expected to publish a full list of key workers later today, and has cited NHS staff, police, and supermarket delivery drivers as examples of professions that fall into the key worker category.

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw said the government should support shop, retail supply workers and pharmaceutical industry workers as schools close.

“Usdaw members across the retail supply chain continue to work extremely hard in response to the outbreak and are heavily involved in the immediate response to Coronavirus – ensuring that people are fed is an essential service at this time of crisis,” said Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the union.

“We are making the case that workers throughout the retail and pharmaceutical supply chain are essential to the immediate Coronavirus response. We are urging authorities to fully support retail, pharmaceutical and warehouse workers at this time.”