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Government needs to do more to protect workers’ incomes - Usdaw responds to a Treasury Select Committee call to evidence

Date: 23 March 2020 Retail and pharmaceutical industry trade union Usdaw has responded to a House of Commons Treasury Select Committee consultation with a call on the Government to do more to protect the incomes of workers through the Coronavirus emergency.
Usdaw welcomed the Chancellor’s recent announcement to create a Job Retention Scheme. Usdaw requires some areas of both clarification and further detail on:
  • Short and zero hours contract workers to have their wages calculated on a 12 week average, in the same way holiday pay is currently calculated. 
  • Furloughed workers to be allowed to do some work and still qualify for the scheme.
  • Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay: Individuals should be able to choose their ‘relevant period’ based either on how the calculation would have been made on 1 March or how the calculation should be made at the time of confinement.
  • Statutory sick pay needs to be significantly increased to reflect a workers’ average pay.
  • Universal Credit: The increase of around £100 per week in Universal Credit is simply not enough. Usdaw wants to see significant increases in Universal Credit, preferably to the level of the Real Living Wage, and an end to the five week waiting period.
Usdaw’s full submission: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/UsdawEvidenceHMTComm
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Many Usdaw members throughout the retail and pharmaceutical supply chains have been at the forefront of the nation’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. We are all too aware that many of our members work in high risk jobs, on the front line of ensuring that the country continues to be fed and have access to medical supplies. Usdaw is therefore extremely keen that the Government puts in place an essential economic framework which can support those workers who are doing so much to help the country at this time of need.
“Equally, Usdaw has many members across retail and other sectors who have been affected by a significant downturn in demand. We are aware that employers such as Ikea and Primark have already announced store closures and we are also receiving significant numbers of queries from workers in non-recognised employers whose jobs are under threat. Therefore, it is essential that the Government uses all powers available to assist workers for whom, without significant fiscal intervention, their livelihoods may well disappear.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 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