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Over one hundred people will tonight (Monday) hold a public meeting in Richmond (Yorkshire) to share the experiences of key workers on the frontline of the pandemic, and demand that Rishi Sunak support a pay rise for all key workers.

Rishi Sunak was invited by constituents working in social care, the NHS and retail, to hear how they have struggled during the pandemic. But he said he was unable to attend.

At the meeting, attendees will hear from key workers based in the constituency, and they will call Rishi Sunak’s constituency office to leave messages of support for Richmond based key workers, demanding the chancellor give all key workers, public and private sector, a pay rise.

According to TUC research published on 5 February, 4,977 public sector workers in Richmond constituency will lose £3 million pounds in pay thanks to the Chancellor’s pay freeze announced in November 2020.

Key workers have been organising dozens of meetings with their MPs around the country (including 5 in Yorkshire) to ask them to support a public letter to the Chancellor in support of pay rises for all key workers.

Lots of Labour MPs are signing the letter. And some conservative support too, with Iain Duncan Smith the first Conservative to confirm he will sign.

Trade unions are calling for a ‘Workers’ Budget’. Alongside pay rises for key workers they are seeking:

    • A rise in the minimum wage to £10 an hour
    • Extension of furlough support to at least the end of the year
    • Universal sick pay rights for all workers, paying at last the same as the real living wage (£330 pw)
    • Action to improve workplace safety, with more funding for health and safety inspection and enforcement
    • Investment in support of job creation, to prevent mass unemployment - including £85bn capital investment in green infrastructure to create 1.2 million jobs over the next two years, and funding to unlock 600,000 jobs filling vacancies and gaps in public services.

Trade unions will hold a national digital rally at 7.30pm on Thursday night, with Labour Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds as one of the speakers

Bill Adams, TUC Regional Secretary said “Yorkshire needs a workers budget to make sure we have a strong recovery from the pandemic. And to make sure that we build back a fairer economy for working people in Yorkshire and their families. We need to make sure that every key worker gets the pay rise they have earned for their extraordinary efforts in the pandemic. And if the Chancellor acts to protect pay growth, the spending boost will help our businesses and high streets recover faster too.”


Editors note

- Key workers and attendees from the meeting may be available for interview

- The public meeting is open for anyone to join, with joining instructions here:

- Pay cuts for key workers in the public sector: In November 2020, the chancellor announced a pay freeze for all public sector workers apart from healthcare workers and people who earn less than £24,000 a year. Based on data provided by HMT, the TUC estimates that 2.6 million public sector workers will be subject to the freeze in 2021.

- ‘Winning a pay rise for key workers’ campaign: The TUC is running a campaign for fair pay for key workers, including those in both public and private sector employment. Further details of the campaign are here:

About the TUC: 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.


TUC press
Gareth Forest
07810 374976

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