Following the Chancellor’s statement on urgent measures to protect businesses and working people, the TUC is calling on the government to follow other countries with urgent use of wage subsidies to protect working families and save jobs. A new TUC report sets out proposals that will build on the Chancellor’s announcements to protect business and the economy by guaranteeing all families an income and protecting jobs from being lost.
These additional measures will also help slow down the spread of the infection by ensuring people can afford social distancing and self-isolation. And they will help ensure that the UK economy retains the capacity to quickly bounce back.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Chancellor’s announcements so far will help protect businesses. But he must now urgently step up the protections that workers need too.
“Many other counties are using government wage subsidies to stop job losses and keep up economic activity. We need it too. And government support to businesses must be conditional on them producing a plan to protect jobs and wages. Unions and business want to fully play their part in protecting the nation. The government must urgently bring them together a national taskforce, so we can put these measures into action in the best way for working people and our economy.”
The TUC’s report sets out five actions urgently needed to build on the Chancellor’s recent announcements and minimise the impact of the virus on workers, the economy and public health:
- Provide wage subsidies for short-time working– all industries will be hit hard by coronavirus so the government must step up and help fund wages now. Just like in Germany, Denmark and Sweden the government should subsidise wages for reduced hours and help working families
- Sick pay for all – ministers must ensure that sick pay is available for everyone, including the 2 million low-paid workers who currently don’t earn enough to qualify for it. In addition, sick pay must be increased to at least the real living wage. £94 a week is not enough for people to surv
ive on – especially over a prolonged period
- Parental leave support– ministers have to sort out parental leave and financial support for working families. They must not lose out if their kids cannot go to school or nursery
- Provide further significant economic stimulus – the government must help people meet their rent, mortgage and debt payments, give people living on benefits and pensions a significant bump in income
- Assemble a national taskforce – ministers need to pull together employers, unions and government agencies to make sure Coronavirus doesn’t lead to a recession and mass unemployment