Usdaw is calling for:
£12 Minimum Wage For All Workers – Many of the workers that our country relies on are low paid. The money that they earn doesn’t reflect the contribution that they make and it isn’t enough for a decent standard of living. We need a minimum wage of £12 per hour, not a few years down the line, but now. We also need to get rid of the rip-off youth rates that allow employers to pay young workers as little as £4.55 an hour. Every worker deserves a wage they can live on.
Minimum Contract Of 16 Hours Per Week For Everyone Who Wants It – A higher minimum wage can only tackle low pay if workers also get the hours they need to get by. We know that some people will want to work just a few hours a week, and of course they should be able to do that, but for most people, a minimum contract of 16 hours a week will be a step forward.
A ‘Normal Hours’ Contract – Short hours or flexible contracts are very common in retail. Many workers are regularly working far more hours than they are contracted to, but the employer can just reduce them back down to contracted hours whenever they want to. This isn’t a fair deal, because the flexibility is all in the employer’s favour. If you are regularly working over your contracted hours, we believe they should be guaranteed in your contract. This will help workers to plan their finances and feel more secure.
A Ban On Zero Hours Contracts – It is not acceptable for workers to be put on contracts that don’t guarantee them any hours at all. There is a real danger that, as the impact of Coronavirus begins to show on the economy, more workers will feel forced to take zero hours contracts as they have no other options. The Government needs to ban zero hours contracts, once and for all.
Better Sick Pay – People who are ill shouldn’t be worrying about their finances, and they shouldn’t be forced into work when they are sick so they can pay their bills. The minimum sick pay that employers have to pay is statutory sick pay – that’s just £95.85 per week. It isn’t normally paid for the first three days of sickness (although it has been paid from day one of sickness as a temporary measure during the Coronavirus outbreak). If you earn less than £118 per week, you aren’t entitled to any statutory sick pay. All of this needs to change. Sick pay needs to be paid from day one, at your normal pay rate, and it should be paid to all workers.
Protection At Work – Nobody should go to work in fear, but that’s the reality for many retail and delivery workers. Violence and abuse has doubled during the current crisis. It’s never acceptable at any time, and that’s why we are calling for better legal protection, urgently. We need a new law that makes it a specific offence to assault public facing workers, with a sentence that fits the crime. The Government needs to show that it takes retail workers’ safety seriously.
A Proper Social Security System – The Coronavirus crisis has shown that anybody can find themselves needing help. Lots of workers have had to claim Universal Credit. This system can be really difficult to navigate and after many years of cuts, it does not provide the safety net that families need. People who are struggling simply cannot afford to wait five weeks for their payment. Many are being pushed deeper into poverty. We need a fair system that protects families and treats people with dignity.
Job Security – Many people are facing real worry about their job security in this crisis. For retail workers, this isn’t a new worry. There has been constant restructuring for a number of years and the threat of job cuts is always just around the corner. It cannot be acceptable that the key workers who are doing so much now don’t feel secure in their jobs going forward. We need stronger protections against redundancy and dismissal, from day one of employment. We also need proper consultation about new technology and investment in skills so that workers are able to keep up in a changing workplace.
Fair Treatment And Equality For All Workers – Most of the underpaid frontline key workers are women. These essential roles have been undervalued and underpaid for too long. Women workers need equal pay and they need decent pay. School and nursery closures have put extra pressure on women workers who often have had to reduce hours or take unpaid leave to mind the kids. We need new family friendly rights that give parents and carers real choices to support juggling work and family life.
A Voice at Work – This crisis has shown that workers need their Union more than ever. Usdaw has worked with employers to improve protections for workers, to agree bonus payments to recognise their contribution, and to protect those whose workplaces have had to close. It was the Trade Union movement negotiating with Government that produced the Job Retention Scheme which has saved so many jobs. Buts some employers continue to refuse to listen to Trade Unions. We need stronger Trade Union rights so that all workers can benefit from a voice at work.