Supermarket staff and delivery drivers have been looking after us – it’s time their bosses started looking after them – The Sun
I WAS particularly struck by one of those coronavirus era quotes posted on the window of an American takeout restaurant that popped up on the internet over the weekend.
The sign read: “Health care workers, grocery store employees and truck drivers are now more important than pro athletes, actors and famous musicians.”
While there has rightly been much consternation about the lack of personal protective equipment available to our NHS heroes, there has been far less concern about the conditions our supermarket staff and delivery drivers are having to work in.
Near the end of my talkRADIO show last Thursday, an anonymous whistle blower from one of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains called me to share the unhygienic conditions for delivery drivers and packers.
Disturbingly he revealed social distancing is not happening at the back of the stores where workers are being forced together to sort out deliveries.
He said: “We’re still being able to huddle together. Most people aren’t wearing gloves. Nobody’s wearing masks. If you want those things, ‘Fine, bring them in.’ As if you can buy them anywhere. Before that they didn’t want you doing it because they didn’t want the image of a delivery driver looking like a hospital worker.”
When I posted the video to my social media, I received an overwhelming reaction from followers sharing their own similar stories.
Toni wrote: “I work for the Co-op and nothing has been supplied for us staff.”
Ian added: “I work for Sainsbury’s in Bristol – we still have no masks or gloves.”
Lisa – whose husband is a delivery driver – told me: “Even the sanitiser at the depot often empty. Plus they’ve put a camera above it with a sign saying: Anyone spotted using more than one squirt will be disciplined.”
Members of the public receiving deliveries are equally concerned at staff dropping off their purchases with gloveless hands, which increases the potential to spread the coronavirus.
And I’ve also heard from numerous people who have visited supermarkets and been concerned by security guards standing side by side and home shoppers working without any protective PPE.
I have great sympathy for the supermarkets and online delivery services that are currently being pushed to the brink.
But it has to be remembered that the supply chain only works if these brave staff continue to show up for work every day.
And that should only happen if they feel as safe as realistically is possible.
All the supermarkets need to institute social distancing measures both within their stores and behind-the-scenes – and ensure backroom staff have a steady supply of gloves, masks and hand sanitiser.
My respect for supermarket staff and delivery drivers has never been so high.
I love you all so much for what you are doing, with little consideration for your own health. You are keeping society running and the nation fed.
So if you’re a company employing these staff, it is imperative you look after them.
You need them. And the country does too.
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