New job support measures will help struggling employers but hardest hit sectors still need urgent support
- Thursday 22 October 2020
Responding to the chancellor's new measures to support jobs and businesses, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, the UK's leading union, said:
"The government has at last done more to support working people through this pandemic. The adjustment to the Job Support Scheme was urgently needed and ought to make it easier for struggling employers to hold onto staff. However, it does nothing to help those sectors hardest hit – aviation, aerospace and hospitality. These sectors are struggling and desperately need help that reflects the true picture nationally.
"It also remains the case that this government is still asking people to make ends meet with huge losses of income.
“This Job Support Scheme is still asking people to survive on two thirds of their wages and for many this is simply not possible. Banks and landlords will expect full payment and the cost of feeding a family has not been reduced. Unite remains committed to campaigning for an extension of the Job Retention Scheme, specific to sectors in need with a minimum commitment of 80 per cent wage support.
"Without this, there will be certain hardship for a great many people so we would urge the chancellor to again review the levels of support this government will offer. Borrowing costs are at historically low levels so it makes total sense for the chancellor to invest against poverty and despair and in the brighter future the people and the economy of this country deserve.
"The support announced today ought to have come weeks ago. The chancellor has at last moved but who knows how many workers were sent to the dole along the road to get here.
"It is vital now that the government learns from our competitor countries in providing the long-term assistance needed to support people and the economy to come out the other side of this dreadful disease in as fit a shape as possible. Bespoke packages are still needed for those sectors that can propel our economy out of this hole and into recovery.
"It remains concerning that our government refuses to match the support provided to the French and German governments to their citizens. The workers in those countries rest easier in their beds at night; UK workers deserve the same."
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett, who leads on for the union on hospitality added:
"While today's measures are a step in the right direction for hospitality and tourism, they still fall well short of what is needed to stop the devastation sweeping through this sector. We have set out what the chancellor needs to do to help the industry get back on its feet, including extending the JRS at 80 per cent of wages, providing they don't fall below the minimum wage, and the establishment of a Hospitality Commission to retrain workers who lose their jobs, in order to provide hope of future employment."