As speculation increases of an announcement of additional support for business following an extension in restrictions, the STUC has called for the bulk of additional support to be directed at workers, alongside conditions to guarantee that all funds will be used to continue employment. It said that the Furlough scheme should be re-opened for workers whose bosses have previously abandoned it but have now been forced to reduce activity because of new guidance. Countries such as Germany, France and Austria have already implemented longer-term support plans than the UK Chancellor.
Whilst grants might be appropriate for some businesses to cover non-staff costs, the bulk of support must directly protect jobs and be directed into the pockets of workers.
The STUC said that a significant number of employers had abandoned the scheme over the past two months, with evidence that workers are being forced to sign contracts committing to a reduction in guaranteed hours and to move onto zero hours if a further lockdown occurs post October.
In some cases companies have ‘stashed the cash’ provided in grants rather than support continuing work for workers not qualifying for the furlough scheme.
Roz Foyer, STUC General Secretary said:
“Hundreds of thousands of workers are facing a cruel and impoverished Christmas if the UK Government does not act now to provide support.
“It is vital that any new support announced is directed at workers and goes straight into their pocket. Relying on grants for business runs the risk that some employers will use the money for purposes other than saving jobs and livelihoods.
“Yesterday’s announcement of a 10pm hospitality curfew may have been necessary, but that cannot disguise the fact that it will translate into reduced shifts and reduced hours for hospitality workers which must be compensated if further hardship is to be avoided. Employers should be ensuring that every penny they receive goes into the pockets of workers and is used to support continuing employment. We will call out any employer we find who chooses to stash the cash rather than support their staff.”
For more information, please contact Rachel Thomson, Campaigns & Communications Officer, on 07974966227.