MP calls for greater protection of shop workers during Covid-19 lockdown

4 May 2020 10:12
Published by: Scott Callan

Key workers who are fulfilling a vital role to keep the country going during the coronavirus lockdown must be given greater support, says Navendu Mishra MP.

The Member of Parliament for Stockport has urged the Government to do more after a survey found that 70 per cent are suffering from mental health problems which have been exacerbated during the coronavirus crisis. 

The findings, which were published by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), also revealed that abuse of shop workers has more than doubled during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

Navendu Mishra MP said: 

“USDAW’s findings should be a wake-up call for this Government, which needs to be doing far more to support our key workers who are helping to keep our country moving during this crisis.

“As a member of USDAW, I’m proud of the work that my union has done to bring this deeply concerning matter to light. So many of my own constituents in Stockport are in a similar predicament and it is incredibly distressing.”

Mr Mishra added: 

“At a time when millions of shop workers are putting their health on the line to help provide our nation with vital supplies, key workers must be regarded as the heroes that they’ve shown themselves to be on the front line of this crisis.

“It is completely unacceptable that three out of every four workers have revealed that they have experienced anxiety and been forced to speak with their employers about their situation. 

“They must be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. That means paying them a decent amount so that they can put food on the table for their own families and giving them proper protection at work.”

The survey revealed that almost a third (29%) of key workers have had Covid-19 related absences from work, because of illness, self-isolating, 

‘Impact of Coronavirus’ survey was responded to by 7,357 members, primarily essential workers in shops, distribution warehouses, road transport or work as delivery drivers.The main findings were: 

  • 70% are experiencing anxiety and raised concerns with their employer.
  • Many key workers are struggling on low pay and are applying for Universal Credit and benefits to make ends meet.
  • 29% have had Covid-19 related absences from work, because of illness, self-isolating or shielding.
  • Abuse of shopworkers has doubled during the Coronavirus emergency

The union, which represents almost half a million members, is calling on the Government for a new deal, as follows: 

  • The National Minimum Wage to be immediately increased to at least £10 per hour.
  • Guaranteed working hours. A minimum 16 hours per week for everyone who wants it, based on the normal hours worked and an end to zero hours contracts.
  • Respect for Shopworkers through ‘Protection of Workers’ legislation that will tackle abuse against workers dealing with the public.
  • More support for low-paid workers through improved sick pay and a proper social security system instead of the current Universal Credit mess.
  • A real voice at work with trade unions being recognised in the workplace.

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