GSE 02-20 COVID-19: Retail & Feet on the Street
Over the last three weeks, the Union has engaged almost daily with eir in relation to COVID-19 safety concerns on behalf of our members. We are working to ensure our members can continue to work safely in their current environments, in both the Retail Shop area and also Feet on the Street (FOTS).
It became obvious to all that in some environments it was difficult to ensure staff safety, and in particular, guarantee appropriate physical/social distancing between staff and also between staff and customers.
At all times during negotiations the CWU representatives had two key principles. Primarily to ensure the safety of our members, and secondly to work to keep impacted members on the payroll of eir with average earnings maintained. To achieve these, the CWU recognised that it would need to make some hard decisions and agree to changes for members that might never have been agreed in normal times.
Early last week, it was agreed between eir and CWU that FOTS operations should be suspended and all staff be redeployed to other roles. Many members in these areas were moved into support back office functions whilst others were moved to assist in the retail shop areas. Where possible, remote working at home will be facilitated in line with current Government and HSE advice.
Following discussions over recent days between CWU and eir, it was agreed on Wednesday afternoon that a number of retail outlets, which were identified as unsafe to continue operating in the current context would close. All members impacted by these closures will be redeployed to other open eir retail outlets or to eir back office functions. Where possible, remote working at home will be facilitated in line with Government advice.
It is agreed that eir will pay normal base contracted salary to all Retail and FOTS members with all being awarded an average commission based previous earnings in recent months. This arrangement is in place until mid-April and is subject to ongoing review. This is a significant development and recognises the fact that average earnings must be maintained despite the very challenging circumstances we find ourselves in, whereby, footfall has all but collapsed and FOTS has had to cease operation for now.
All shops should have received gloves, sanitiser etc, but should also source them locally if this is not the case. In addition, the CWU has requested that Perspex desk mounted screens be installed in the shops as a further safety measure.
These are unprecedented times for everyone. We will continue to update members at appropriate times. Please rest assured that the CWU will do our utmost to protect and support all members during this difficult period.