UKWA Chief appeals for exemption from self-isolation for warehouse workers

July 23, 2021

Clare Bottle, the new Chief Executive of the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA), has written to Rachel Maclean, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, making the strong case for logistics workers to be exempt from self-isolation as the ‘pingdemic’ sweeps the country causing shortages of supplies.

Clare states, “During the earlier phases of the Covid-19 pandemic logistics workers, including warehouse workforces, benefitted from “essential worker” status, which helped our members and the wider logistics community to maintain critical supply chains, including food and pharmaceutical supplies. We believe that exemption from self-isolation should now apply to this sector by default, which would be in line with the earlier position of the government and straight forward to implement.”

Earlier, the PM said critical workers who are fully vaccinated would be able to avoid self-isolating when recommended to do so by the Track & Trace app. However, it was later explained that this would only apply to a “very low number of people” and employers would be obliged to make individual applications for the exemption.

Subsequently, the impact of millions of workers having to self-isolate has brought increasing pressure on the government to reconsider its position.

Clare concludes, “While we welcome the news that supermarket workers and food manufacturers will be now exempt from quarantine, warehouse workers form a critical part of supply chains not only for food, but for pharmaceuticals and other essential supplies too; Although members have been affected to different degrees, some have reported up to 40% of staff self-isolating. Therefore we’re also seeking urgent clarification from the government on the process for individuals and businesses to apply for exemption.”