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    Usdaw launches future of retail work plan

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    Retail trade union Usdaw has on Tuesday (12 July) launched a new blueprint for the future of retail work, aiming to ensure that retail jobs are better jobs.

    The union said the plan would help save the shops, as retail continues to face one of the most challenging periods in history. Since 2018 nearly three-quarters of a million retail jobs have been lost, with over 75,000 store closures, as online retail grew. That accelerated during the pandemic and already this year over 30,000 retail jobs have gone, along with more than 2,000 store closures, according to the Centre for Retail Research data.

    Usdaw said retail staff need and deserve to be given a much better and fairer deal for the sector to prosper.

    “For retail workers to prosper, not just survive, we need to make sure retail jobs are better jobs,” Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, said.

    “Shopworkers need and deserve to be given a much better and fairer deal, which is at the heart of our plan launched today. It calls for the government to recognise the vital role that the retail sector, and retail workers, play in our economy and our society.”

    Usdaw has called for levelling business taxation between online and in-store retailers, funding for local authorities to support their high streets, a minimum wage of at least £12 per hour now, as a step towards £15, improved Statutory Sick Pay and protection of workers legislation, reinstating the Union Learning Fund; a legal right to paid time off for retraining; and reform of the Apprenticeship Levy for retraining and upskilling for new technology and automation, fair treatment and equality for all retail workers, and stronger protections for retail workers.

    “The retail industry directly employs three million people, with a further 1.5 million jobs reliant on the success of the industry. Yet the government continues to treat retail jobs as an afterthought. This needs to change, we cannot continue with shop work being synonymous with low pay, insecure hours and abuse. This isn’t just bad for employees, but for the industry and wider economy as well,” Lillis said.

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