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Unions will fight the Government 'tooth and nail' to protect and extend employment rights

Date: 25 January 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has joined with eleven other major trade unions to warn the Government not to undermine hard-won and important basic employment rights.
Today Labour is challenging the Government, in the House of Commons, to protect all existing employment rights, including the 48-hour working week, rest breaks and holiday pay entitlements; along with legislation to end “fire and re-hire” tactics.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Europe delivered core employment rights that Usdaw members rely on and they must be protected. These minimum employment standards help ensure fairness in the workplace and a level playing field that stops rogue employers undercutting rivals at the expense of their staff.

“We have to ensure that a post-Brexit Britain does not spiral downwards into low wages and insecure employment. Usdaw consistently called for legal guarantees on maintaining existing employment rights and we welcome Labour challenging the Government on their plans.”

The 12 union leaders' statement in full

“Last week, rumours emerged in the Financial Times that the government has been secretly drawing up plans to water down more of our members’ workplace rights, including on working time inclusive of time spent on-call, rest breaks and paid holiday entitlements. After initially denying the rumours, the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed this week that the rumours are true, and government are in fact reviewing workplace protections.

“It is unconscionable that at a time of immense loss, sadness and uncertainty for our country, when thousands of people are dying each day and we are shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs, that they have prioritised drawing up these plans. The government have long promised that our rights at work would be ‘protected and enhanced’ – they simply have no mandate and no public support for ripping them up.

“A loss of basic rights affects everyone. Losing these hard-won rights would lower living standards further after a decade of stagnating pay and growing insecurity, causing working people to further tighten their belts and hold back any economic recovery. Millions of workers are already working crushingly long hours and further removing rights to rest, limits on working hours or disregarding workers time spent on-call endangers not only them, but also puts public safety at risk - no one wants their loved ones to receive care from a chronically overworked nurse or be driven home by an exhausted bus driver.

“Working people are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to keep this country fed, safe, cared for and connected – keeping our country going under unimaginable pressures. With insecurity rife throughout much of our economy we believe this pandemic should be a turning point where working people should have their rights at work strengthened, not threatened. The whole of the labour movement will fight tooth and nail to protect and extend our rights.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw - Christina McAnea, Unison - Len McCluskey, Unite  - Warren Kenny, GMB - Dave Ward, CWU - Manuel Cortes, TSSA - Mick Whelan, ASLEF - Roy Rickhuss, Community - Matt Wrack, FBU - Horace Trubridge, MU - Ian Hodson & Sarah Woolley, BFAWU - Chris Kitchen, NUM

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