Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s keynote address to Labour Connected by Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, where he thanked shop workers and all key workers for changing people’s lives and making a difference and promised a new leadership in contrast to Tory incompetence.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Keir today rightly talked about Government incompetence holding Britain back and offered a new leadership based on decency, fairness, opportunity and security. He is delivering a competent and credible opposition that knows Labour needs to win in order to change people’s lives, and our country, for the better.

“We welcome his commitments to security and opportunity at work, recognising that many have not had a real terms pay rise for a decade, and working with trade unions to create quality jobs. This is at the heart of Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers campaign and we look forward to working with Keir to achieve those aims.

“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 recognition that they were key workers, but that respect and appreciation must not fade into the background when this national crisis passes.

“We cannot go back to the way we were and we have to build back better. 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.

“On all those issues the Government is not listening and we need the new leadership that Keir Starmer is offering the country, because only Labour will deliver for our members and all working people.”

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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