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Commenting on today’s (Tuesday) economic support measures announced by the government, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: 

“Workers need help now to pay their bills. 

“But the economic support measures announced today are not conditional on employers keeping workers on and covering their wages. And they do nothing to fix the gaping holes in our sick pay system. 

“The government has abandoned hospitality, arts and leisure staff. 

“Millions of workers will go into Christmas worrying for their jobs and anxious about what they will do if asked to self-isolate. 

“The chancellor must go back to the drawing board. We need a new targeted furlough scheme that covers at least 80 per cent of workers’ wages, and that guarantees that no-one furloughed is paid less than the minimum wage. 

“And we need decent sick pay – paid at the real Living Wage - available to everyone.” 

New TUC polling carried out this weekend and published today shows that nearly 8 in 10 (77%) people think the government should reopen furlough at least for some industries if new public health restrictions force businesses to close. 

The poll, carried out for the TUC by YouGov, shows that fewer than one in ten (eight per cent) people oppose the reintroduction of furlough due to the Omicron variant. 

Yesterday, trade body UK Hospitality warned that 10,000 pubs and restaurants may close permanently without additional financial support. 

Editors note

-All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,790 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17-20 December 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). 

- The TUC asked members of the public whether the government should pay a proportion of the wages of people who had been temporarily laid off (or "furloughed") from work during Omicron, as for previous waves. 19 per cent said the government should open a furlough scheme now, for business in all sectors. 17 per cent chose that the government should open a furlough scheme now, but restrict it to businesses in the entertainment, retail, hospitality and travel industries. 41 per cent said the government should open a furlough scheme only if it requires businesses to close due to the Omicron variant. Eight per cent said the government should not open a furlough scheme at all. 14 per cent picked none of the above/don’t know. 

-In addition to calling for a targeted furlough scheme, the TUC has also renewed its calls for increasing statutory sick pay to the rate of the real living wage and extending it to all workers. Analysis published by the TUC this month showed that 238,000 hospitality workers – around one in six of the workforce - do not qualify for statutory sick pay. 

-The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 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. 

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