Retail trade union Usdaw has long campaigned for a New Deal for Workers to tackle workplace injustices and help those struggling to make ends meet in the cost of living crisis. This should be delivered in an employment bill, which the Tories promised in their 2019 manifesto and, as reported by the TUC, this promise has been repeated at least 20 times since. It is unacceptable that such a bill is not in the programme of legislation for the coming parliamentary year, as set out in today’s Queen’s Speech.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The Government has so far not delivered on their manifesto commitment to bring forward an employment bill that could improve the rights of low-paid key workers. So it is deeply disappointing that a much needed and long overdue New Deal for Workers was not included in today’s Queen’s Speech.

“Having worked throughout the pandemic, risking their health and too often facing abuse from customers; many key workers are still struggling in low-paid insecure employment and now face a growing cost of living crisis. The Government has frequently promised a post-Brexit strengthening of employment rights, but we are still waiting for them to put words into action.

“There needs to be lasting and fundamental change to the way society views workers. We need a New Deal for Workers: a minimum wage of at least £12 per hour, an end to insecure employment, respect for shopworkers and action to ensure that retail jobs are no longer underpaid and undervalued. Going to work should mean a decent standard of living for all workers.”

Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for:

  1. Minimum wage of at least £12 per hour as a step towards £15 for all workers, ending rip-off youth rates.
  2. Minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for everyone who wants it, that reflects normal hours worked and a ban on zero-hour contracts.
  3. Better sick pay for all workers, from day one, at average earnings.
  4. Protection at work, respect for shopworkers, abuse is not a part of the job.
  5. Proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide an effective safety net.
  6. Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and significant improvements to redundancy protections.
  7. Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
  8. Voice at work, stop rogue employers refusing to engage with trade unions and end ‘fire and rehire’.
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