Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement to cover 80% of the wages of workers facing being laid off. The union is calling for the calculation to be based on average income, rather than contractual pay, and urges employers to make up the 20% shortfall.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“There are many workers, particularly in retail, who are contracted for fairly few hours each week, but regularly work many more to make a weekly wage they can live on. These short-hours contract workers rely on this regular additional money, so for their income to be drastically reduced to 80% of contract pay will put them in real hardship.

“While we welcome the Government’s substantial intervention, we want to hear that they understand the problems short-hours workers face and confirm that the assistance does apply to average income in the same way that holiday pay does. We also still need significant improvements on Statutory Sick Pay.

“We also urge employers to stand by their staff, keep them employed and ensure that they and their families are not plunged into poverty. The very fabric of our society relies on workers and employers pulling together and looking after each other as we deal with the Coronavirus emergency.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 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 many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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