of 50,000 signatures

All workers deserve safety at work and financial security in this pandemic. Workers at Costa Coffee demand measures to make our stores Covid-secure and to ensure those who cannot attend work are properly supported.

Petition text

To Jill McDonald - CEO of Costa,

- Follow suit of other food retailers such McDonalds in turning stores into exclusively a click and collect and delivery service, with exception to drive thru’s, and those serving our key workers within hospitals, and on motorways

- Extend Flexi-furlough to properly support all employees

- Handling of covid within Costa regularly pushes the boundary of the guidelines, occasionally meets the bare minimum, and claims to go ‘above and beyond’

- Communicate, listen and value staff over customers’ money

Thousands of people come into store every day on completely non-essential trips. This is a danger for the staff, their families, and will play a large part in spreading the virus through the 3,000 stores in the UK. Despite this, a 50off food campaign is running to encourage people into store, putting the lives of your employees and the public at risk for profit, in a time when leaving the house should only be for essential needs. Changing stores to exclusively C&C and delivery would be putting the health, safety, and well-being of your employees and customers first, as you claim to.

Head office can say their stores are ‘complying with guidelines’ but have any of them ever worked in one? If they had they would know it is impossible to socially distance and properly follow deep cleaning measures on a busy bar. This being the case when the staff are trying to adhere to the rules. Many, many individuals, even in management, take no notice of the rules with little to no enforcement by head office in most cases. There are cases of staff with symptoms working and not wearing a mask, staff off work awaiting test results coming into store for a coffee but also working, and a store being closed by a supervisor as most the team had symptoms and one had just tested positive, only to be forced to reopen by the area manager (just for the council to close them down again). Sadly these cases, and all the others I speak of that are not official Costa policy, are just a few horror stories among many. In all of them, some level of management was aware.

It remains Costa policy not to ask a customer to wear a face mask, and to continue accepting cash, two things done away by most businesses months ago. How can the inconvenience to the customer somehow supersede the health and well-being of everyone around them? How can you feel safe, when a regular customer comes into store to tell you their partner has the virus, and you can’t even ask them to wear a mask. Just one more, real case, that demands Costa move to a C&C and delivery only service.

If an employee tests positive for covid, the store may close for a day for a deep clean (sometimes not even closing), is this really enough? The other employees that may have worked and mixed with the positive case are not made to isolate in cases (official policy would have them isolate, this does not always happen). Additionally, if a store closes, staff will be relocated to other stores, sometimes an individual will go to several different ones, leading to regular mixing of ‘work bubbles’, putting every store at significantly higher risk of spreading the virus. If you refuse to be relocated you will not receive any furlough from your store having closed, it is only when you cannot be found work at any other stores.

Costa is running it’s own ‘Flexi-furlough’, which only supports those who are extremely vulnerable, have childcare needs, or whose store has shut, and they can’t be relocated. This is an unacceptable model, one that does not support those isolating or ill with the virus and provides no safety net for people with high-risk family members. It does not recognise or support those with disabilities that wouldn’t have them classified as ‘extremely vulnerable’. Such as mental health issues like depression or anxiety, which have a significant impact on sufferers thanks to the substantial added stress of the current working conditions.

A caveat is that those with childcare needs must work 40 percent of their contracted hours to receive ANY support, or use up holiday/take unpaid leave instead. For single parents, parents of young or special needs children, this may not be possible while their children are off from school. Particularly as most cannot get a place in school, not being deemed a ‘key worker’. Those who are isolating or have even caught the virus are only entitled to SSP (£95/week), for someone that usually works say, 30 hours a week, SSP is barely 30 percent of their usual earnings, in many places around the country this would not even pay rent for a month, let alone food, now imagine if they have a family to support. These are the people of course, most in need of support, and equally, are those Costa are not willing to support.

Employees of Costa have been continuously neglected. After the new lock-down announcement on Jan 4th, Costa took straight to social media to reassure customers that it would remain open for take-away, whilst leaving staff completely in the dark until 9pm the next day.

Sadly this is a trend from Costa to value the customer over the employee and is one that must stop. There was an implication in the message staff received that they had had their voices heard, the voices saying they want to work. In fact, there has been no effort to find out how the workers on the ground floor are feeling. Because of this we ran our own survey in which 499 Costa employees and ex-employees voted that we should be on furlough and ONLY 65 opted for Flexi-furlough (the current set up), 10 also voted for no furlough. 84 percent have shown that they believe Costa is not doing enough, yet Costa attempts to frame it as though they have the support of the staff and are mutually respecting their employees.

Do not thank us, praise our hard work, and pretend we’re ‘a family’ when you don’t even take the time to listen to us.

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