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Usdaw joins a Labour and trade union taskforce to promote a new deal on workers' rights

Date: 11 February 2021 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis will represent Usdaw on a new taskforce: ‘Recover and Rebuild: Power in the Workplace’, which brings together Labour frontbencher Andy McDonald MP and the Labour affiliated trade unions.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw has long campaigned for a new deal for workers’ rights in the workplace.   Too many key workers don’t have the protection of a trade union and are struggling on low pay and insecure work. This new taskforce provides a welcome opportunity to have the voices of our members heard, as we participate in shaping the agenda for the next Labour Government.
 
“Millions of low-paid workers have provided essential services to help ensure the country is fed, healthy and safe throughout the lockdown and will continue to do so. Usdaw members employed in our supermarkets, distribution warehouses, food processing sites and home delivery operations welcomed the key worker status, but that respect and appreciation must not fade into the background when this national crisis passes.
 
“There needs to be lasting and fundamental changes to the way society views our lowest paid workers. We need a new deal in the workplace with trade unions having new stronger rights to represent people at work.  And we want a new deal for workers: a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour, an end to insecure employment, respect for shopworkers and action to ensure that jobs are no longer underpaid and undervalued.”
 
Full text of the taskforce founding statement:
 
The coronavirus pandemic has bought into sharp relief the imbalance of power in the workplace that the Labour and trade union movement have long sought to rectify. It has also highlighted the crucial role that trade unions play in speaking up for their members, from securing PPE and enforcing safe working arrangements to protecting jobs and incomes.
 
The impact of the pandemic has demonstrated how a lack of individual and collective rights and the weakness of health and safety protections have contributed to unsafe working practices and economic insecurity that has left the UK with the highest death toll in the world and the worst economic crisis of any major economy.
 
The weakness of employment rights and imbalances of power in the workplace have been exacerbated in the past year but insecurity, low pay and a lack of dignity are longstanding problems that must be addressed to improve living standards and provide economic security to the UK’s 28 million workers.
 
Evidence shows that fair and decent conditions of work improve productivity, economic opportunity and health and wellbeing. To ensure everyone is entitled to fair pay, job security and dignity at work and to address inequality, all workers must have a comprehensive set of rights and protections and trade unions must be strengthened to ensure they have the rights needed to represent their members to organise, bargain and win for working people.
 
An economy where security and opportunity are available to all can only be achieved when good workplace relations are established underpinned with strong laws and mechanisms that enrich the lives of workers and reward them fairly.
 
To this end, The Labour Party and its affiliate trade unions have established a taskforce which will set out the party’s approach: Recover and Rebuild: Power in the Workplace. Working together, the taskforce will develop Labour’s strong agenda on workplace rights and set out a shared vision for a new deal for working people which will detail how workers can be collectively and individually empowered to ensure that every worker is entitled to fair pay, job security, dignity at work and work-life-balance, safety at work, and to help Britain recover and rebuild from the virus.
 
Chair: Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary; ASLEF - Mick Whelan, General Secretary; BFAWU - Ian Hodson, President; Community - Kate Dearden, Head of Research, Policy and External Relations; CWU - Dave Ward, General Secretary; GMB - Warren Kenny, Acting General Secretary; FBU - Matt Wrack, General Secretary; Musicians’ Union - Horace Trubridge, General Secretary; NUM - Chris Kitchen, General Secretary; TSSA - Manuel Cortes, General Secretary; Unison - Liz Snape, Assistant General Secretary; Unite - Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary; Usdaw - Paddy Lillis, General Secretary.
 
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for:
  • £10 minimum wage for all workers, ending rip-off youth rates and providing a living wage.
  • Minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for everyone who wants it, that reflects normal hours worked and a ban on zero-hour contracts.
  • Better sick pay for all workers, from day one, at average earnings.
  • Protection at work – respect for shopworkers, abuse is not a part of the job.
  • A proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide a safety net.
  • Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and redundancy.
  • Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
  • A voice at work, stop rogue employers refusing to engage with trade unions. 
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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