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Usdaw welcomes additional Coronavirus help for business, but calls on the Government to do more for workers

Date: 17 March 2020 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s extra measures, announced by the Chancellor, to help retail, leisure and hospitality businesses through the Coronavirus emergency. The union calls for more help for workers who face lay-offs and reduced income if forced to take time off work and looks forward to promised talks.
Usdaw is calling on the Government to:
  • Improve Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so it reflects average pay, rather than the current £94.25 per week, rising to £95.85 at the start of April. 
  • Pay SSP to low paid workers - workers earning below the lower earnings limit of £118 per week currently get no SSP. 
  • Provide additional paid family leave to help working parents cope with school closures, based on average pay. 
  • Ensure businesses are able to continue paying workers their average pay during the crisis, including where business establishments are unable to trade normally and have to lay people off.
  • Substantial action to prevent frontline workers from abuse and violence.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “After the Government last night announced extensive social isolation measures, they left many businesses in real trouble. Today’s business rates holiday is therefore welcome, but may have already come too late for some workers who have been laid-off and we look forward to hearing what more they are going to do.
“We also welcome the three-month mortgage holiday, but there needs to be similar assistance for renters, who are more likely to be in insecure work and at particular risk from the economic effects of Coronavirus.

“The Chancellor’s commitment to work with trade unions to look at employment support is helpful and we look forward to an early invitation to high-level talks. Usdaw members have significant issues that need resolving, particularly around sick pay, worker protection and job security.

“Retail workers are playing an essential role in helping communities to get through the Coronavirus emergency; they deserve our support, respect and appreciation for everything they are doing at this difficult time.”

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