Prime minister urged to strengthen covid guidance in shops

The leader of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) has written to the prime minister urging the government to urgently update workplace coronavirus guidance and reintroduce social distancing and safety measures.

The trade union, which has 400,000 members, has called for requirements to properly ventilate workplaces and for sick pay to be reviewed so that infected workers can afford the necessary time off.

“The emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant is a deeply concerning development for Usdaw members,” said Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary. “Omicron’s rapid spread leaves our members, who have worked tirelessly on the frontline as key workers throughout the pandemic, at increased risk of infection.”

Lillis added: “Further action is needed to protect retail workers from the risk of catching coronavirus and the subsequent requirement to self-isolate following a positive test.

“All possible health and safety measures should be under review at this time, with cases being forecast to spike significantly. It is clear that further safeguards are needed to protect retail workers, over and above those set out in the current guidance.”

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