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Nearly 120,000 retail jobs lost and over 10,000 store closures last year – Usdaw again calls for an industrial strategy and recovery plan

Date: 08 January 2024 Retail trade union Usdaw is again calling on the Government to work with them and employers to develop a retail industrial strategy to tackle longstanding and ongoing difficulties in the sector and help save our shops. The call comes after the Centre for Retail Research today revealed that 10,494 shops closed for the last time during 2023 and 119,405 jobs were lost in the sector.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The scale of the challenge the retail industry faces is huge, with very high numbers of job losses and store closures that are scarring our high streets and communities. There are substantial issues that need to be addressed like rents, rates and taxation.
 
“Usdaw is calling for a robust plan for the future of retail work that addresses both the immediate and urgent priorities facing the industry and staff, as well as wider measures to help deliver better jobs. We need a co-ordinated and inclusive approach, so we are urging government, retailers and all key stakeholders to engage with Usdaw.
 
“The current business rates system is not fit for purpose, as it places bricks and mortar retailers at a significant disadvantage to online retail. In effect this amounts to nothing more than an unfair tax on shops and action has to be taken to level the playing field. We were deeply disappointed that the Government rejected an online sales tax, which was also supported by major retailers and could have been used to fund a reduction in business rates.
 
“Only by working together can we help to deliver the better jobs retail workers need and deserve, while securing the future viability of the industry for the benefit of customers, workers, communities and our economy.”
 
Usdaw’s plan for the future of retail work - ensuring retail jobs are better jobs:
  • A new economic framework to support retail growth.
  • Better pay and secure work to ensure that retail jobs are treated as proper jobs.
  • Retraining and upskilling for new technology and automation.
  • Fair treatment and equality for all retail workers.
  • Stronger protections for retail workers.
The full report can be downloaded at: www.usdaw.org.uk/RetailPlan2023
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is one of the fastest growing unions in the TUC and the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 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 www.usdaw.org.uk
 
Usdaw’s Save our Shops campaign: www.usdaw.org.uk/SaveOurShops
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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