The GGF has underlined its positions on several issues around the developing COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the glass and glazing industry. In a statement to GGF Members and the Industry, John Agnew GGF, Managing Director clarified the GGF’s position with regard to the issue on whether companies should choose to close temporarily or to continue operating safely. The statement also addressed the cash flow crisis and the economic situation ahead.
Statement from John Agnew, GGF Managing Director:
Since the outbreak of this terrible virus and the impact on our industry, the GGF has maintained a consistent and responsible position to help primarily our Member companies and also the wider industry.
During the crisis, the GGF has aligned itself with Government advice and guidelines which have admittedly changed as the crisis has developed. There is no doubt, that some of the Government’s messages for our industry have caused confusion and misinterpretation. The GGF can’t answer for the Government but can only interpret and relay the information as and when we receive it.
To date, the GGF has been extremely active during the COVID-19 pandemic. To highlight this, a summary of all of our activity has now been published on our website. Our regular communications to GGF Members and the wider industry as well as our engagement with government and related construction trade bodies have been welcome from the feedback we have received. In addition, throughout these extraordinary times, the GGF has also maintained its core services to underline our leading and proactive role as the industry’s main trade body.
In the past few weeks, some in the industry have questioned our position on various Government messages and none more so than the specific issue around installers continuing to work in domestic premises.
On this point of whether or not window and door installers and glaziers should be considered essential or non-essential workers, the GGF sought and received clarification from Government which stated that there was no distinction between essential and inessential workers in construction. The Government is keen for the construction industry to continue, as long as it is safe to do so under Public Health England Guidelines and in line with the Government’s Social Distancing guidelines.
Following this clarification and the GGF’s distribution of the Government health and safety information, we have still received some queries regarding the issue from companies who are unsure.
For further clarity, the GGF position on this issue, is in line with the Government’s advice and Public Health England Guidance, and as such we therefore urge employers to do the following:
- Only continue to work if it is safe to do so within the health and safety guidelines as published on the Government website
- Conduct a thorough health and safety risk assessment
- Check with your insurers that you covered for Public Health and Health and Safety Employer liability
The GGF has also recently published the Government guidance for manufacturers and processors should they choose to continue to work.
With thousands of companies in our industry, I respect that every company’s situation may differ and that is why the GGF can’t offer individual or specific advice, but instead encourages employers to follow the Government guidelines and to make their own responsible decisions for the health and benefit of all concerned.
Other than health concerns, the issue facing most companies is the cash flow crisis. The GGF has published online advice articles and issued Government guidance on how companies can cope with cash flow problems. As well as the immediate financial needs, many businesses are also now preparing for the financial issues ahead with the inevitable recession on the horizon and lengthy economic recovery.
We are in unprecedented trading landscape and the GGF advice to all companies is to make a plan if you haven’t already done so to help you get through this situation.
The GGF has internally adjusted its resources and refocused its strategies to ensure Members get greater and more specific support. We have published and promoted all of the relevant Government financial packages, which have been significant and comprehensive. I have no doubt that the responsible businesses in our industry, will use this Government support, take help them plan their future accordingly.
The new Government Business Support Hub has many options available should you require to apply for financial support.
The GGF has worked tirelessly throughout this crisis for the benefit of our Members and the wider industry and we will continue to do so. We are constantly monitoring and reviewing the Government updates, communicating key information and news to Members and the industry as well as relaying our Members’ concerns to Government. In addition, we are also continuing to provide the high level of technical services that are a core part of the GGF Member benefits.
These times though extremely difficult will undoubtedly pass. For now, it is all about following Government guidance, staying safe and making the right decisions to ensure we emerge ready for when business and life returns to normal.