Usdaw marks 100 days of lockdown by calling for a new deal for workers

Usdaw is marking 100 days of lockdown by calling for a new deal for workers, after the coronavirus emergency has shown that millions of low-paid and undervalued workers have stepped up in the most difficult of circumstances to keep our country going.

Workers in retail, manufacturing, distribution and home delivery have been working around the clock, keeping food on our tables and medicines in our cupboards. They have adapted to huge change in an extremely short time, working under intense pressure and providing a lifeline to our communities.

Usdaw is working to keep our members safe as they work through the crisis. As the union looks past coronavirus, it is time for the government, employers and the public to recognise that these workers have been undervalued for too long. They deserve a new deal. Usdaw is calling for:

  • £10 minimum wage 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.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Millions of low-paid workers have provided essential services to help ensure the country is fed, healthy and safe through 100 days of lockdown and will continue to do so. Usdaw members employed in our supermarkets, distribution warehouses, food processing sites and home delivery operations welcomed the key worker status, but that respect and appreciation must not fade into the background when this national crisis passes.

“There must be lasting and fundamental changes to the way society views our lowest paid workers. We need a new deal for the workers: a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour, an end to insecure employment, respect for shopworkers and action to ensure that retail jobs are no longer underpaid and undervalued. It cannot be right that key workers in supermarkets, who are keeping our communities fed, are visiting foodbanks to feed their own families.”

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