Watsons Corporate

Workers Make Possible (WMP) is an independent workers rights group based in Singapore. After conversations with several former and current Watsons workers about their work conditions, WMP found that a significant number of them have been suffering in silence. Although many experience significant discomfort and pain from standing long hours, they share that they experience many barriers in being able to have sufficient seated breaks during their shifts. In solidarity with these workers, WMP launched a campaign to get Watsons Singapore to allow their workers to be able to sit during their shifts. Although Watsons have since clarified that they do not have a "no-sit" policy, it remains the fact that no stools are provided behind the cashier counter and workers are standing for long hours without enough rest. Workers still face significant barriers in getting sufficient seated breaks. Workers from at least 30 other companies in Singapore have been suffering in silence too. WMP therefore hopes that Watsons, a multi-billion dollar global corporation can pave the way in changing this backward policy.

Dear Watsons Corporate,

All I want for Christmas and the New Year is for your retail staff to be provided a chair.

As a customer at your store, I am deeply concerned about the health and well-being of your employees. When I visit your stores, I see your employees standing for long hours without much break.

Because of this practice, your employees are at risk of having sore feet, blisters, backaches, varicose veins, and even rheumatic diseases.

Is this necessary?

As a health and wellness company, is this what you stand for?

If there can be a chair for pharmacists to rest behind the counter, then why can’t there be chairs provided for the retail staff behind the cashier counter?

Sitting down is NOT unprofessional

Although I see your pharmacists sitting down behind their counters when they aren’t busy, I think they still look incredibly professional. Similarly, as a customer, I strongly believe that your retail staff will be just as professional if they were allowed to sit down at the cashier counter or anywhere else at the store, where there is no good reason for them to be standing.

If your staff can perform cashiering duties while sitting down, I do not require them to be standing up to perform it. If the store is quiet and I do not need any assistance, I do not see any good reason why your staff needs to remain on their feet and in turn, worsen their health. In fact, I will feel more comfortable shopping if your staff do not feel the need to look busy in front of their managers and keep asking me about what I’m looking for. If I truly need help with my shopping, I would prefer to directly ask your staff.

Letting workers sit at the store during their shifts is not a totally new practice in Singapore. There are some stores like 7-11 and Mustafa Centre that provide chairs behind the cashier counter for their staff to sit. These employees are still able to provide excellent service.

As a customer, standing for long hours does not indicate professionalism, it only indicates a lack of care for the health and well-being of your staff. Additionally, when staff is injured due to long term work complications, they are not compensated for these injuries. It is totally unnecessary for all the money they earn from the job to have to go to medical bills just to support said job.

Although this practice has existed for a long time in at least 30 other companies in Singapore, I believe that Watsons can pave the way in leading a positive change in the retail industry. As a household brand my family, friends and I go to when we need a health or wellness product, I expect better from Watsons.

It is my wish that this Christmas and New Year, Watsons will do the right thing and grant your employees a chair behind the cashier counter.

Please do not make your staff stand for long hours in my name.

GoPetition respects your privacy.

The Dear Watsons, Please Let Your Staff Sit! petition to Watsons Corporate was written by Workers Make Possible and is in the category Employment at GoPetition.