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Labour's commitment to put workers on the boards of large companies will ensure staff are valued says Usdaw

Date: 22 September 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed Labour’s commitment to give employees a say in how companies are run by requiring boards of large companies to reserve at least one-third of their seats for workers.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Low pay and insecure contracts are a real concern for workers, as they struggle to make ends meet. Usdaw’s ‘Time for Better Pay’ campaign seeks to address the issue of in-work poverty. We believe that workers on boards will help ensure that staff are valued by the business, receive a proper living wage and job security. Too many workers feel undervalued by their employer, a Labour Government will tackle that by giving them a proper say in how the company is run.”

Usdaw’s survey of over 10,000 workers has laid bare the issues that working people are facing as a result of low pay, short and zero hours contracts and insecure work:
  • 92% have seen no improvement in their financial situation over the past five years – of these, 63% say they are worse off
  • 76% of low-paid workers have had to rely on unsecured borrowing to pay everyday bills in the last 12 months.
  • 63% say that financial worries were having an impact on their mental health.
Usdaw’s ‘Time for Better Pay’ campaign tackles the causes of in-work poverty and seeks to develop an economy where work pays. Using the evidence gathered through our extensive research, the campaign is calling for four key actions:
  • £10 per hour minimum wage for all workers over 18.
  • Minimum contract of 16 hours per week for all employees who want it
  • The right to a contract based on an individual’s normal hours of work
  • An end to the misuse of zero hour contracts.
Labour’s proposal:
  • Labour will pass primary legislation mandating that worker directors comprise at least one third of the board, and a minimum of two worker directors per board, at all companies with a workforce 250 or more, public and private.
  • Worker directors must be elected by the entire workforce, including overseas staff.
  • Worker directors would have the same legal duties as other directors, with the same remuneration.
  • Work with the TUC to provide a network and training for worker directors to help them fulfil their role.
  • Workers on boards is not an alternative to other forms of worker representation, such as collective bargaining, but rather part of a suite of measures that will strengthen workers’ voice in the workplace.
Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers