Usdaw has condemned the Government’s lack of consultation on ending the Union Learning Fund. This was exposed today in a House of Lords question from Lord Watson (Labour Shadow Education Spokesperson) to Baroness Penn (Conservative Government Spokesperson).
The Government announced that it will be scrapping the Union Learning Fund in England next year, which delivers access to lifelong learning for around 200,000 workers each year. Usdaw, along with other trade unions and the TUC, are calling for the move to be reconsidered. Usdaw member Sean Dixon launched a petition on the TUC’s megaphone website and you can sign it at: www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-don-t-cut-union-learning
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“This deeply controversial decision to end the Union Learning Fund shows that the Government fails to understand the value of what has been achieved over the last twenty years and the vital role union learning can play in delivering its own adult skills agenda.
“The Government spokesperson in the Lords today had to admit that no consultation was undertaken by the Government ahead of the decision being made. It is difficult to understand how the Department for Education can make such a controversial decision without consulting with the main stakeholders, like employers, education providers and trade unions. We know that many major employers are not happy.
“Learning and re-skilling must be at the core of the Covid-19 recovery, so it makes no sense for the Government to end the Union Learning Fund next year. This unique scheme brings lifelong learning into many workplaces, pulling together the resources of employers, education providers and trade unions to give workers a second chance to learn.”
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.