Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s keynote address to Labour Connected by Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, where she hailed the efforts of millions of low-paid key workers who kept the country safe, fed and connected and went on to commit the Party to fighting any attempt to freeze minimum wage rates.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Angela today rightly talked about every worker being paid the real Living wage, because applause does not pay the rent or put food on the table of key workers. So we very much welcome her commitment to fighting any attempt to freeze minimum wage rates. When the Government can afford to give the better-off a discount on eating out, it beggars belief that they would not improve the incomes of those on the breadline.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has clearly demonstrated how reliant the country is on millions of low-paid key workers, providing essential services to help ensure the country is fed, healthy and safe. 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.

“So our message to the Government and the Low Pay Commission is clear. Do not turn your backs on the people who kept this country going through a national crisis. Show them the respect they deserve, end poverty pay and ensure the lowest paid workers get a decent pay rise.”

Usdaw’s new Deal for Workers calls 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 (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 has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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