Usdaw accuses government of snubbing three million shopworkers

Usdaw has criticised the government for failing to include a retail staff representative on their new panel to look at the future of the high street.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry on Monday announced a panel appointed to diagnose issues that currently affect the health of high streets and advise on the best practical measures to help them now and in the future. The panel is to be chaired by Sir John Timpson.

Usdaw’s new General Secretary Paddy Lillis recently called on national and local government, unions and employers to form a joint retail task group to protect the high street, safeguard jobs and ensure good wages and good training in the retail sector.

He said: “We welcome, as a step in the right direction, the government establishing this new panel to look at the crisis on our high streets. However, not including representatives of the workforce is a significant snub to the UK’s three million shopworkers who have a lot at stake in the current situation and a great deal of expertise to offer.

“Too many retail companies do not recognise a trade union for their staff, thereby denying them an effective voice in the future of the business. It is deeply disappointing that the government has entrenched that position in this new group.

“All too often when companies get into trouble, the efforts to find solutions are focussed on conversations with shop landlords, leaving the staff in the dark. Yet shopworkers, particularly long-serving and loyal staff, have a great deal to offer and make significant contributions to turning companies around.

“Shopworkers should be valued by their employer, they are at the forefront of delivering good customers service. That was the prime philosophy of those who built many of today’s biggest retail businesses. Unfortunately some employers have turned their back on that principle, the staff are no longer valued in the way they used to be and that is having an adverse effect on the business.

“Usdaw is the shopworkers’ trade union. We work with retail employers to give their staff a voice in the business, promote fairness, dignity and respect, and we get the best deal possible for our members. I am writing to the Minister to urge him to include Usdaw on this new panel, so that shopworkers’ voice can be heard in the debate on saving our high streets.”

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