Retail trade union Usdaw has been left unimpressed by the Government’s weak support for workers facing a cost of living crisis, after they were today dragged kicking and screaming into backing Labour’s windfall tax on excessive oil and gas profits.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “It has been deeply damaging to our members’ health and wellbeing to see the Government spend months denying the need for Labour’s windfall tax. Now that they have finally conceded, it is disappointing that the support offered barely covers half the increase in energy costs, which have more than doubled in just over six months.

“Today the Chancellor has totally ignored rocketing fuel and food prices, which have driven inflation to its highest rate in 40 years, now standing at 11.1%. The Government is clearly out of touch with the real lives of low-paid working people, as they fiddle at the edges instead of bringing forward a comprehensive package of support in an emergency budget.

“Usdaw continues to call for an immediate increase to all social security payments by at least the level of inflation, the grants announced today are simply not enough. Low-income households, pensioners and disabled people deserve better than the derisory 3.1% increase they received this year.

“There also 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, along with fundamental reform of Universal Credit to provide proper social security. 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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