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Congress 2020: Keir Starmer backs Usdaw’s call for government support to save retail jobs – ‘we can’t go back to business as usual’

Date: 15 September 2020 Shop workers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed Keir Starmer’s backing for targeted government support to help struggling sectors like retail, so that we can save jobs, keep shops open and help struggling high streets.
Speaking to the annual Trades Union Congress, the Leader of the Labour Party paid tribute to the workers we all applauded during lockdown and lamented that they remain overworked, underpaid and undervalued. He praised trade unions for making the job retention scheme happen, but recognised furlough cannot last forever and called on the Government to work with unions and Labour to help keep people in work by targeting support to the sectors that need it.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We very much welcome the positive contribution Keir Starmer made to Congress today. He demonstrated that Labour clearly understands what the economy and working people need at this truly difficult time, in contrast to the incompetence and chaos of the Conservatives.

“Keir is right to challenge the Government to get its priorities right by sorting out Covid-19 testing, defeating the virus and delivering the Brexit deal he promised. Most importantly he rightly recognises the scale of problems working people face as we head to towards Thatcher-era levels of unemployment. We join Keir’s call on the Government not to end the furlough scheme in one fell swoop and to replace it with targeted support to keep people in work and welcome that he committed to supporting the retail industry.

“Workers in retail need a new deal on pay and job security. They also need the Government to intervene with a retail recovery plan that will protect jobs and save our high streets. It is clear that only Labour is prepared to deliver.”

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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