The government’s announcement that logistics workers are now categorised as “key workers” in the COVID-19 response plans has been warmly welcomed by FTA, the business organisation that represents the sector. The news comes after urgent appeals made by FTA to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, and his ministerial team.
“Today’s announcement is great news for FTA and its members, who are currently working under extreme pressure to ensure the resilience of the UK’s supply chain,” says Elizabeth de Jong, FTA’s policy director. “Over the past few days, our team has made urgent approaches to the Secretary of State and Ministers to call for an all-encompassing definition that recognises the vital nature of roles in logistics and we are delighted that our request has been acknowledged at the highest level. It is also encouraging that logistics’ workers are now recognised as ‘key’, to help them play their part in the industry’s efforts to maintain vital supply chains.
“The news that logistics workers’ children can apply for access to schooling during the COVID-19 response period is a welcome relief to those dedicated workers who are currently working round the clock to keep the supply chain as resilient as possible. Their efforts are vital to the continued provision of goods and services to all the elements of the UK economy.”
The two sections of the key worker list published by government today (20 March 2020) of particular interest for logistics include transport, defined as those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass, and food and goods, including those involved in food distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods.
“Logistics workers are the unsung heroes in today’s economy, ensuring that shops, schools and hospitals, as well as manufacturing and our homes, have the products they need, when they need them,” continues Ms de Jong. “Today’s announcement is a very welcome recognition of this role, and will give reassurance to those working so hard to keep Britain trading under such challenging circumstances.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. FTA is one of the biggest business groups in the UK, supporting, shaping and standing up for safe and efficient logistics. We are the only business group in the UK that represents all of logistics, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.