Safety first is the only way lockdown measures can be eased, says Usdaw

Trade union Usdaw has responded to the prime minister’s statement by urging a safety first approach to easing lockdown measures. 

The union cautions non-food retailers not to open until they can guarantee staff and customer safety and urges them to adopt the joint advice agreed with the British Retail Consortium (BRC). 

Usdaw is calling on businesses to work with trade unions to carry out risk assessments in workplaces before re-opening for business.

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Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary said the unions “absolute priority” is the safety outfits members and has emphasised safety first in all the discussions it has had with the government. 

He said: “Non-food retail should only start trading again when expert public health advice agrees, but even then we must have a guarantee that the right policies and practices are in place to make workplaces safe.

“The vast majority of our members are key workers in the food and pharmaceutical supply chain and we have worked with employers to ensure that these essential services have been able to continue safely.”

He added: “As and when other retailers are allowed to open they must do so in a measured and safe way. We cannot afford to cut any corners. The last few weeks have laid bare the terrible damage this virus can wreak.

“Usdaw and the British Retail Consortium have developed advice and guidance for the non-food retail sector on what effective safe distancing in the shops might look like.  We would urge all high street retailers to study the joint advice and open a dialogue with Usdaw and the BRC on putting in place plans for adequate social distancing measures in their stores.”

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