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Usdaw joins Maternity Action in calling on the Government to protect expectant and new mothers from unfair redundancy

Date: 29 June 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw has co-signed a letter to Business Secretary Alok Sharma, organised by the campaigning charity Maternity Action, calling on the Government to support and adopt the Pregnancy & Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill that is set to be introduced in the House of Commons on 8 July.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Pregnancy and maternity discrimination has long been an issue Usdaw has campaigned on, so we are pleased to join this combined effort to get the Government to act. The timing has never been more important as the Coronavirus emergency is making matters worse.
 
“We are looking for the Government to urgently implement a comprehensive legal ban on making pregnant women and new mothers redundant, other than in very limited and specified circumstances. This would take the onus off women to challenge their employer and make it much harder for employers to discriminate in the first place. This reform is crucial for equality and economic recovery.
 
“Strong employment and equality rights during pregnancy and maternity leave are absolutely necessary; pregnant workers still face discrimination and unfair treatment at work, from not getting time off for ante natal appointments to inadequate rest breaks and lack of a proper risk assessments. Women in unorganised workplaces and migrant women face particular problems and are often too afraid or vulnerable to assert their rights.
 
“Trade unions and strong workplace organisation are crucial to defending and furthering women’s rights at work. One of the most effective ways to deliver better pay, decent work and fairness for women at work is for employers to recognise and work 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.
 
Maternity Action is a leading charity committed to ending inequality and improving the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child’s early years https://maternityaction.org.uk
 
Full joint letter: https://maternityaction.org.uk/2020/06/joint-letter-to-secretary-of-state-for-beis-to-support-the-pregnancy-and-maternity-redundancy-protection-bill/
 
Letter signatories: Rosalind Bragg, Director, Maternity Action; Paddy Lillis, General Secretary, Usdaw; Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society; Joeli Brearley, Founder, Pregnant Then Screwed; Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive, Working Families; Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, Women’s Budget Group; Victoria Benson, Chief Executive, Gingerbread; Sophie Walker, Chief Executive, Young Women’s Trust; Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON; Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union; Dr Jo Grady, General Secretary, University & College Union.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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