Watsons Responds After Workers Claimed They Don’t Allow Cashiers to Sit Down

In retail, it’s often frowned upon when a staff member sits down, but why? 

Unprofessional? Lazy? Unproductive?

After all, aren’t workers people too?

While many stores have eased up on their no-sitting policy for staff, one remains adamant about it, and you might have shopped there before. 

Workers’ Rights Advocacy Group Meets Watsons Singapore Over “No-Sitting” Policy

On Tuesday (12 December), the advocacy group Workers Make Possible (WMP) met with Watsons Singapore to discuss their alleged no-sitting policy. 

This comes after the group was alerted on the incident by various Watsons workers, who claim that the long hours of standing have been burdensome for them.

In an Instagram post, the group provided a screenshot of an anonymous worker’s pain and its explanation against the sitting ban. 

In a recount, the worker said: “My feet aching la, both feet,” and explained how he or she “can’t leave the job.” 

The group then detailed the detrimental health effects of prolonged standing. 

“This can result in inflammation of the veins, which can progress over time to chronic and painful varicose veins. Joints in the spine, hips, knees, and feet may also become temporarily immobilised or locked. This immobility can later lead to rheumatic diseases due to degenerative damage to the tendons and ligaments.”

Lastly, they said that if “big companies like Mustafa Centre” can allow employees to sit, why can’t Watsons?

In total, eight workers contacted the group with their complaints. 

The Backlash

Due to the inhumane treatment these workers were being put through, people were outraged. 

A user pointed out the possibility of bringing this up to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). For context, MOM states that workers are entitled to breaks under the Employment Act. 

Image: @workersmakepossible / Instagram

Some also mentioned the health risks of standing for too long, as the advocacy group has done. 

Image: @workersmakepossible / Instagram

Lastly, come shared their personal experiences with such work scenarios while criticising the needlessness of it. 

Image: @workersmakepossible / Instagram

Join our Telegram channel for more entertaining and informative articles at https://t.me/goodyfeedsg or download the Goody Feed app here: https://goodyfeed.com/app/

Watsons’ Response

In the hot seat, Watsons denied the “no-sitting” policy and said workers can are allowed to take their breaks at designated resting areas. 

“Watsons always sees employee welfare as a priority. We would like to clarify that we do not have a ‘no sitting’ policy,” the company told The Straits Times

It was also noted that the only workers in Watsons seen sitting were pharmacists, and cashiers were never allowed to sit. 

Image: @workersmakepossible / Instagram
Image: @wakeupsingapore / Instagram
Image: @wakeupsingapore / Instagram

In a recount by a Watsons employee, she said: “My supervisors close an eye and let me sit down while I’m doing stock taking or in the back room, but mostly, we are told that if we sit down at the cashier, it looks bad to customers,”

I don’t know about you, but I definitely can’t stand this.

Read also: 

Featured Image: @wakeupsingapore / Instagram + Alen thien / Shutterstock