USDAW, UK’s fifth biggest trade union, has welcomed the decision of UK retailers to keep COVID-19 safety measures in place as the Government lifts rules on Monday (19 July).
Retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Aldi have said they would prefer staff and customers to keep wearing masks despite new rules making it a matter of personal choice.
The union has urged the whole retail industry to follow these leads, to avoid customer confusion, and for the shopping public to abide by the rules and respect shop workers.
Paddy Lillis, USDAW General Secretary, commented, “It is deeply disappointing that the Government has ploughed on with ending mandatory safety measures within shops on Monday, despite concerns from shop workers. So we welcome the early responses from the retail industry and we hope all stores will continue to put staff and customer safety first.”
Lillis also added that the Government’s guidance does not provide assurances for staff or employers.
“Protection for retail workers through customers wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing should be backed up by the law and not left to individual choice,” he added.
Support From Customers
The union has also urged customers to show their support and respect for shop workers by wearing face coverings, observing hand hygiene, and maintaining social distancing.
Lillis explained, “Retail staff already face unacceptable levels of abuse and making COVID safety measures guidance only, instead of having the force of law behind them, could put more shop workers at risk.
“We need more retailers to keep their COVID safety measures in place to avoid confusion and send a clear message to shoppers.”