Retail workers demand early vaccination

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Mandate Trade Union has written to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, seeking clarity on the prioritisation of retail workers in the rollout of the vaccination programme.

Gerry Light, Mandate General Secretary, said the HSEs listing of priority groups published on 6th January for vaccination is ambiguous and doesn’t explain where retail workers are in its listing of priorities.

“Retail workers, particularly grocery and pharmacy staff, have kept the country going over the last 12 months and they deserve recognition as essential workers risking their health every day. As such, the Minister needs to confirm that retail workers are in the Key workers in essential jobs who cannot avoid a high risk of exposure to COVID19′ category.”

He added, “Shop workers and pharmacy workers are key to tackling this virus and reducing transmissions. They experience daily interactions with the public and with other key workers, and if they are infected, there is a strong possibility that they could infect others, whether at work, or in the community. It makes perfect sense to vaccinate them as early as possible so that we can keep infections in the community under control and protect both the retail worker and the public.”

Mandate has also written to all major retail employers in Ireland seeking their support for the early vaccination of retail workers.

“Grocery retailers have been buoyed by an increase in sales over the last year with many companies experiencing growth of up to 18 percent on the previous year.  Their workers, who have been on the frontlines since the beginning of the pandemic, have kept the businesses going, at great risk to themselves. We believe all major employers should now do everything possible to ensure their workers can avail of an early vaccination.”