Huge Response To Brentford Woman's Campaign Against Unstaffed Tills

Over 100,000 sign petition calling for people not machines

Pat Macarthy outside the Tesco in Osterley. Picture: Pat Macarthy


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A 69-year-old woman from who started a petition against self-service checkouts after encounter difficulties with them in the Tesco Extra store at Osterley has had a massive response to her campaign.

Pat McCarthy wants the supermarket giant to bring back more staffed tills after they converted many of the checkouts at its store to self-checkout.

According to Mrs McCarthy, this has resulted in significantly longer queues at the remaining staffed tills, and as a volunteer who helps out with the disabled, she believes this is discriminatory. She says that people she helps with the process of applying for their Personal Independence Payments tell her they find the tills make their shopping experience physically difficult and overwhelming. She also points out the tills have resulted in many staff, mainly women, losing their jobs. She is not arguing for the self service tills to be banned just for fewer to be installed in each store.

Her petition now has over 100,000 signatures after her campaign gained national coverage.

On the petition page on she said, “With these new replacement Self-service-card-only tills (SSCOT) you have to choose your shopping if you can find it, put it in the trolley, unpack it, load it onto the belt that is static, scan it (if the scanner works), shove it across onto a packing area, pay for it and then lift it off out of the packing area and then load it into your trolley. This is a physically taxing process. As an older woman, I can't lift anything heavy, and that goes for many disabled people.

“I challenge Ken Murphy Chief Executive of Tesco to meet with me for a discussion to explain his 'replace people with machines policy'. I want Ken Murphy to bring staff back to do check-outs on the till and not have a replace people with machines policy.”

Self-service tills have been in Tesco stores for over two decades but, like other supermarkets, it has significantly expanded their use over the past two years as customers often preferred to use them during the pandemic. The latest estimate is that there are around 325,000 such tills across stores in the country.

Tesco responded by saying, "Our colleagues and the friendly service they provide are absolutely vital to our stores and will always be on hand to help our customers, whether they are checking out at one of our colleague-operated or self-service checkouts."


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May 20, 2022


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