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PM offers little more than 'jam tomorrow' for hard-pressed working families facing a cost of living crisis says Usdaw

Date: 06 October 2021 Retail trade union leader Paddy Lillis has branded the Prime Minister’s speech to Conservative conference today as a missed opportunity to give working people a fighting chance of getting through the looming cost of living crisis. Usdaw laments the Conservative’s failure to commit to a new deal for workers and to stop the cut to Universal Credit, which will be devastating for millions of low paid workers and their families.
Paddy Lillis Usdaw General Secretary says: “We all know that the PM likes to think of himself as an eternal optimist, but his ‘jam tomorrow’ promises do not put bread on the table today. We note that he talks about a ‘high wage and high skills economy’, but how will that be achieved? Today’s speech was long on soundbites and short on substance.
 
“The truth is that the UK economy is too reliant on low pay and insecure work. The pandemic clearly demonstrated just how reliant we are on workers who are struggling to make ends meet and face a looming cost of living crisis, with rising utility bills and National Insurance increases, along with fuel and food shortages.
 
“We will judge the Government on actions not words. It remains a matter of shame that today’s action is to cut over £1,000 a year from the lowest paid working families. We need a new deal for workers that includes a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour immediately, more secure contracts and an end to rip-off youth pay. The best way to thank key workers, ‘build back better’ and ‘level up’ is to ensure fairness at work.”
 
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for:
  • A minimum wage of at least £10 per hour 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 and end ‘fire and rehire’. 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 380,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry 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