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North East union body has today (Friday 4th September) warned the government not to ‘throw away’ the good work of the job retention scheme and urged ministers to work with unions on a new job protection and upskilling deal.

 Press Office: 07712 675118 - 0191 2275 557

  • Union body launches new blueprint for saving livelihoods and upskilling workers
  • New measures needed to prevent thousands of North East families from losing their livelihoods, says TUC
  • Ongoing support would come with ‘strings attached’

The union body says that without additional support for businesses and workers millions will lose their livelihoods in the coming months ahead.

Jobs Protection and Upskilling Deal

The TUC is today launching its Job Protection and Upskilling Deal – a new blueprint for saving jobs and upskilling workers affected by the crisis.

The plan outlines a new short-time working scheme designed to prevent mass unemployment and to help firms bounce back after the crisis, and proposals to help workers whose jobs are at risk develop the skills they need for the future.

The plan would:

  • Help businesses save jobs by providing ongoing financial support for companies with a viable future 
  • Fund reskilling for the jobs of the future, free for any worker whose employer needs them to work for less than 50% of their normal hours 

Under the TUC proposed scheme workers would receive 80% of their salary for the hours they are not in work, including when they are training. 

The company would receive a 70% subsidy from the government, provided they bring back every worker on the scheme for a minimum proportion of their normal working hours.   

Targeted and conditional support

The TUC says the measures outlined in its Job Protection and Upskilling Deal would offer more ‘targeted’ and ‘flexible’ support than the government’s job retention bonus.

Under the TUC’s plan companies would only get help if:

  • They can demonstrate they have been hit by coronavirus restrictions
  • Each worker is brought back for at least a minimum proportion of their normal working hours
  • They pay their fair share of tax in the UK, boost workers’ rights and pay staff fairly, and do not pay dividends while using the scheme.

The plan would also have built-in contingencies for companies hit by local lockdowns. Companies in this situation would automatically qualify for help through the scheme.

The TUC says the plan mirrors measures being taken across Europe

In Austria, unions and employers have extended their coronavirus short-time work scheme for another six months from October. While in Germany, the country’s coronavirus short-time work scheme is expected to be extended until December 2021. And in France a new short-time work scheme has been introduced that will apply until June 2022.  

‘Clock ticking’

The TUC says the ‘clock is ticking’ to avoid a ‘tsunami of unemployment’ in the autumn, with the Bank of England predicting that 2.5 million people could be out of work by the end of the year.

The union body says that rather than watching from the side-lines ministers must take action now to prevent the misery of mass unemployment.

“The job retention scheme showed what government can do during a crisis. It saved many people from the dole queue and stopped good companies going to the wall. 

“Families in the North East face a cliff edge unless the government acts to support workers in the region with a new plan.”

“There are painful memories in the North East of the catastrophic unemployment levels in the 1980’s - the government can avoid all of this by putting in place a blueprint to save businesses and upskill workers. “

Beth Farhat, Northern TUC Regional Secretary
Editors note


Notes to editors:
 - A copy of the Job Protection and Upskilling Deal can be obtained from the TUC press office

-The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.


Craig Dawson

0191 2275 557
07712 675118

TUC press office  
020 7467 1248

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