Fact Service March 2020

Issue 12

Call for supermarket safety measures

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw has welcomed supermarket group Morrison’s agreeing new safety measures, including perspex screens, to help protect checkout operators during the Coronavirus emergency. 

The union is working with other supermarket retailers to ensure that they meet their duty of care to staff.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “We have increasing concerns about the safety and welfare of staff in stores. The scenes in stores over the weekend and behaviour of some customers mean that supermarkets need to go further to protect the health, safety and welfare of shopworkers.

“We are calling on retailers to continue to improve their stores and procedures to help protect staff. We also call on customers to stay calm, respect shopworkers and practice the necessary hygiene measures to help limit the spread of the virus. We all have to work together to get through this crisis.”

The union has asked retailers and customers to take a number of safety measures during the coronavirus crisis. 

It has called on retailers to: 

• limit the number of customers in store at any one time;

• increase security presence;

• reiterate to staff not to put their own safety at risk in the event of abusive customers or shoplifters;

• provide perspex shields around checkouts;

• ensure staff are able to perform necessary hygiene procedures;

• clearly tell customers they should shop alone if possible and only buy what they need; and

• enforce essential workers’ and vulnerable people’s shopping hours.

Shop staff have been heroic during the crisis. Usdaw is urging customers to please help retail workers by: 

• treating shopworkers with courtesy and respect;

• washing your hands first;

• only buying what you need;

• maintaining physical distance;

• paying with contactless if you can;

• respecting "golden" shopping hours for essential workers and vulnerable people; and

• shopping alone if possible.