Today, Community have written to the Prime Minister calling for urgent action to protect industries and save jobs. You can read our letter here:
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to you regarding the jobs crisis in the UK, and the urgent need to protect industries and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
It is untenable to be increasing restrictions across the country to control the virus whilst at the same time reducing the financial support necessary to protect workers whose jobs are at risk. Industries which Community members work in ranging from manufacturing to the third sector are relying on urgent extensions to their financial support beyond October to avoid major job losses.
By learning the lessons from the JRS and SEISS, the Government needs to identify how we can better support those who need it, including workers who missed out initially and have struggled with their incomes since March, and those industries which are on the brink.
Germany’s short time working scheme, extended until December 2021, provides flexibility for reduced hours as market conditions require, and could form the basis for a replacement to the JRS to get help to those who need it most. By requiring workers in receipt of support to be working at least a proportion of their normal working time means the scheme is able to support viable businesses in retaining skills of their workforce. We echo the TUC’s calls that those in local lockdowns should automatically qualify for such a scheme.
Furthermore, self-employed workers play a critical role in our economy and require similar support as we enter a further period of restrictions. Additional help should be provided for all self-employed workers, especially those who missed out on receiving support under the SEISS. Such measures could include funds for grants managed by local authorities, or an extension to the SEISS, this time including every self-employed worker.
Finally, with local lockdown restrictions and self-isolation periods generating further challenges for workers and businesses, Government must mitigate the financial impact both measures create. Support for those self-isolating must go beyond the £95 a week Statutory Sick Pay provides and must be extended to the self-employed. Workers must not be forced by the Government to choose between their health and their wealth.
Our workforce and the industries and businesses they work in are crucial for a sustainable economic recovery. If the Government does not act now, as we enter a new period of uncertainty whilst already facing an unprecedented jobs crisis, then huge swathes of the economy will be put at risk.
Roy Rickhuss CBE
Community is a general union standing up for workers in every sector of the UK economy. It’s never been more important to have a union in your corner, you can join us here.