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Spring Statement 2019: Usdaw challenges the Chancellor to 'save our shops' and address the squeeze on workers' incomes

Date: 12 March 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has challenged the Chancellor to deliver on Usdaw ‘save our shops’ and ‘time for better pay’ campaigns in tomorrow’s Spring Statement.
Usdaw is calling on him to:
  • Save our shops with an industrial strategy for a retail sector in crisis.
  • Recognise it’s ‘time for better pay’ with at least £10 per hour and more secure contracts.
  • Immediately halt the roll-out of Universal Credit.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw wants a thriving retail sector that provides well-paid secure employment for our members and we are challenging the Chancellor to deliver policies to achieve that.
“In cities, towns and local communities retail is in crisis. The British Retail Consortium has warned of a ‘high street ‘Armageddon’, with footfall in long-term decline, 20,000 store closures since 2015 and 93,000 jobs lost last year. We need action not just warm words from the Government.
“Retail is at a turning point. Employers and the Government need to end short-termism that results in cuts, low pay and insecure work. We need a long-term strategy that delivers decent pay, secure jobs and changes attitudes towards retail work; giving shopworkers the respect they deserve. That means good pay of at least £10 per hour, a proper contract that reflects the normal hours worked and enough hours every week to make a living.
“Also the Chancellor must ensure that workers’ incomes are not undermined when they are transferred on to Universal Credit. Working families have already suffered from the benefit freezes and cuts in tax credits. Despite minor changes to the system, they are set to be worse off still when transferred onto Universal Credit.
“Many organisations have raised serious issues about the design and impact of Universal Credit, yet the Government has so far neglected to address these concerns. Usdaw is calling for the rollout of Universal Credit to be stopped and for a fundamental rethink of the policy.
“These are significant issues that our members face and need substantial interventions from the Government. We hope that the Chancellor is listening.”
Usdaw’s ‘Time for better pay’ campaign is calling on the Government to strengthen workers’ rights by introducing:
  • A minimum wage rate of at least £10 per hour for all workers.
  • Minimum contracts of 16 hours per week for everyone who wants one.
  • Contracts based on an individual’s normal hours of work.
  • An end to zero-hours contracts.
For more information: www.usdaw.org.uk/T4BP
Usdaw’s industrial strategy for retail: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/retailstrategy.aspx

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 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. 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