With school closures having affected the UK workforce, the Association of Pallet Networks (APN) is calling for government to recognise all the pallet network sector support staff as key workers in order to keep essential supplies moving.
Currently delivery drivers are recognised as key workers and therefore will be eligible for school support.
However, says APN chairman Paul Sanders, this overlooks the crucial role of those who manage inventory, load and unload supplies, and keep the supply chain moving.
“It is essential that government recognises that all distribution workers are necessary to keep critical supplies moving around the UK during this crisis,” says Sanders.
“Without forklift drivers, warehouse staff and other distribution workers, delivery drivers will have nothing to deliver,” he says.
“In order to keep these people working and the UK economy moving to ensure the supply of essential goods food and medicines, we need all distribution workers in our sector to be eligible for school support for their children.”
The Association of Pallet Networks represents the UK’s eight pallet networks which between them comprise 30,000 employees, 23,500 vehicles, 750 depots throughout the country and offer 100% coverage by postcode.
“Our sector is uniquely placed to enable essential deliveries to every corner of the UK during this national crisis. But we cannot achieve that unless we can assure staff that their children are being cared for appropriately while they labour to get goods where they need to go,” says Sanders.
“The supply of essential supplies for critical operations – not least ensuring food in our supermarkets and well stocked pharmacies and hospitals – is one of the most important aspects of protecting the UK public during this crisis.
“We would urge the UK government to broaden its definition of workers to include the vital support staff who work behind the scenes to make sure that inventory is audited and HGVs are loaded to get to those who need them most.”