As a number of Local Authorities in Scotland move from Level 4 to Level 3 coronavirus restrictions, the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is calling on employers to ensure the highest standards of health and safety, to avoid a “tsunami” of customers. With some retailers planning on opening for 36 hours without pause, workers health and safety must be put front and centre. Employers should also pay to ensure that staff receive safe transport home if called on to work irregular hours.
Roz Foyer, STUC General Secretary, stated:
“We know that many retail workers are anxious about the days ahead. They fear that the move to Level 3 will mean a rush of customers, stressed and desperately trying to get their Christmas shopping done. Employers must prioritise the health and safety of all staff and shoppers should respect that too.
“A poorly managed reopening could be very damaging to both workers, and the public health of our communities.
“Low pay and disgraceful levels of Statutory Sick Pay does not help. Workers who have previously been furloughed may feel pressured to take on as many shifts as possible or to ignore advice to self-isolate.”
And Foyer called on retailers to follow the example of ASDA who announced yesterday that they will close on Boxing Day.
“The festive period should be an opportunity for everyone to have a rest and enjoy the company of friends, family and loved ones. Many retail workers have worked all throughout this pandemic, the least they deserve is time off work.”
Foyer also pointed to the STUC’ support for trade union USDAW’s petition to urge the Scottish Government to launch a consultation on implementing legislation already in place to ban large shops from opening on New Year’s Day.
“In 2019, USDAW reported that 74% of retail workers reported that they spend too little time with loved ones over New Year. That issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
For more information, please contact Rachel Thomson, Campaigns & Communications Officer, on 07974966227