The UK’s retail trade union Usdaw has urged the government to not end free test kits and the requirement to self-isolate, a move it is planning to implement throughout the country from next week.
It comes as the union expressed concern over the current high infection and death rates from covid-19, despite an overall decline, as the government announced potential plans to lift all safety measures next week, which the union believes will put shopworkers at a greater risk of infection.
It further called on the government to introduce a new deal on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), as it believes the possible added circulation of covid could cause more sickness absence and would therefore impact low-paid workers, who can currently claim 96.35 pounds a week in SSP.
Usdaw has suggested an improvement on SSP so that it reflects average pay and that it can also be made accessible to low paid workers. It has further requested for SSP to be paid from day one, removing the three day waiting period currently in place.
In a statement, the union’s general secretary, Paddy Lillis, said: “Covid-19 is still very much out there. The prime minister appears to be determined to announce a lifting of all safety measures next week, but we hope he carefully considers the evidence, learns the lessons of the past and takes a more cautious approach. We have seen before what happens when so-called ‘freedoms’ are put ahead of public health and workers’ safety.”