Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has today launched a new ‘Save our Shops’ petition at the Trades Union Congress in Brighton, calling on the Government to take urgent action to tackle the ongoing and deepening crisis in retail.

Hosted on the TUC’s ‘Megaphone’ petition website, shopworkers and shoppers are asked to add their support for an industrial strategy for retail by visiting:

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Usdaw’s petition calls for the urgent action needed to save jobs and protect our local high streets with a government-led clear and coherent strategy for retail. The Government must address the growing crisis on our high streets, as we have called for through our ‘Save our Shops’ campaign. Their ‘Towns Fund’ is a small sticking plaster for a crisis that threatens the jobs of hundreds of thousands of shopworkers and requires much more fundamental reforms.

“The retail industry is experiencing turbulent and challenging times. Directly employing around 3 million people and contributing 11% of UK economic output, it is clear that the retail crisis has a huge knock on effect, impacting the UK economy and a significant number of workers.

“The scale of store closures we have seen is devastating, not just for the workforce, but also for our communities and town centres. The Government needs to show that it takes retail jobs seriously by listening to and acting on workers’ concerns.”

Over 74,000 retail workers lost their jobs during 2018 and so far this year, the rate of store closures and jobs losses has increased dramatically. The TUC is working with Usdaw to call on the Government to protect the 4.5 million jobs that rely on the success of the retail sector.

Frances O’Grady – TUC General Secretary says:
“The crisis on our high streets is reaching breaking point. Please join the call from shopworkers for urgent Government action, to protect retail jobs and the high streets at the heart of our communities.”

Usdaw’s ‘Save Our Shops’ petition: We call on the Government to take urgent action by adopting an industrial strategy for retail and implementing the following comprehensive and co-ordinated policies:

  • Review taxation, commercial rents and business rates to ensure a level playing field between ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers and online retailers, providing a new framework that supports local communities and the wider economy.
  • A minimum wage of £10 per hour for all workers, secure work and investment in skills and training to provide decent pay and job security for retail workers and drive up productivity.
  • Give retail workers a say over the future of retail and the introduction of new technology, with a designated inclusive body that ensures the Government recognises the crucial role retail has in the UK economy.

Usdaw’s industrial strategy for retail:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 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.

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